For the most part fans know what to expect out of FC Dallas when everyone is healthy (or not suspended, or not out on international duty). The lineup for opening day is pretty much set from what we've been able to gather out of the last few preseason games.
Things get trickier the further back you go on the starting XI for Schellas Hyndman. He knows his right back is Zach Loyd and his two center defenders are George John and Matt Hedges. But his left back position is now a toss up, as is his goalkeeper situation.
Competition breeds better players and that is what Dallas is getting in those two spots at the moment. Ever since the club signed Raul Fernandez and Michel, it was obvious those two would compete with the apparent incumbents in Chris Seitz and Jair Benitez.
"I think it is still up in the air," said Hyndman when speaking on the goalkeeper situation. "The one thing we do know is that Raul will be missing games with the national team. And it may be putting us in a situation where we may go through the season with two keepers."
Hyndman wasn't able to pinpoint who he believed would be starting on Saturday against the Colorado Rapids. He did point out one thing that could keep Fernandez on the bench come Saturday.
"Raul is at that level that we expected. He is very athletic, quick, at the same time he doesn't have command of the English language. At the same time he doesn't know what the league is all about."
As far as Seitz goes, he is a veteran of the league, which may count in his favor at the end of the week.
"Chris, you know, this is the best we have ever seen him. He's come in with a great attitude, I think with his fiancé getting ready to deliver a baby, I think with him going through the bone marrow last year, his way of life has changed a little bit. But he is so much more committed," said Hyndman.
The left back situation is another toss up for the club as well.
"One of the things that opponents tried to do to us was play a bigger or stronger player on Jair, he did well handling that but you could always see whether its a Atiba Harris this weekend or Kei Kamara [with Kansas City], they will find players that will cause him problems," said Hyndman.
In Hyndman's mind, Michel has put himself into a position to compete with Benitez for the starting left back spot due to his size and age. But just like with Seitz, Benitez may have the upper hand when it comes to the knowledge of the league.
"I think right now with all the years in the league, knowing the league and knowing what we are looking for, we would think that Jair has the edge right now," said Hyndman.
Typically battles like this are won in week leading up to the games. If I had to put my two cents in I would lean towards Benitez and Seitz as starters on day one. Both have the league experience to handle a big opening day like we'll see on Saturday.