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Building for 2014: Defenders

Part two in a series that looks at the roster construction for FC Dallas.


Now that we're all in a post-Turkey Day coma, it seems some what fitting to continue on in our look the roster construction for next year.

Earlier this week FC Dallas declined the options on three players.

Background information

For starters, something I would like to point out with is that the MLS salary cap this year was right at $2.95 million, which means given the previous bumps it should climb to over $3 million in 2014 for the first time in league history. For this series we'll just say $3.1 million to be safe.

MLS teams as most of you know can buy down a players salary with allocation, a number that seems made up on a case by case basis in some ways. But in all reality it is real and it does have a lot of meaning. FC Dallas will be getting some extra allocation this winter due to the fact that they failed to reach the post season. This is also known as the "you suck money" from the league.

Typically each year returning players see an increase in their salary unless it has been agreed with the club that they make less, as in the club and player worked out a deal.

In 2013, FC Dallas had a total salary figure just over $4 million.

11 Defenders

The group of defenders FC Dallas has is pretty young for the most part. Between the group of Homegrown players, Generation adidas player and young veteran players like George John, the club has a wide arrange of how they spend their money in this department.

But going into a new year, some questions will still have to be answered before we move forward.

1. Re-sign Loyd? This may be the biggest question of them all going into the new year. Loyd is one of the few expiring contracts that the club has right now and the team has a little bit of time left to work out a deal with him. He won't come cheaply though as his total compensation is close to $140k, which is approaching the higher end of the fullback spectrum in MLS.

2. That Ugo money. The one thing to really point out about the money below is seeing how much the club should get to spend on once they figure out what to do with Ugo Ihemelu. A year and a half removed from playing his last game and he is still dealing with concussion issues. His contract is one of the three expiring ones and I've heard there are talks to brining him in to the front office next year in some capacity. Or even as a youth team coach. Either way, that is a sizable chunk of change to play with.

3. About Moises. This is another interesting player to bring up as Moises Hernandez has been on loan basically for two years now. The kid has grown up in that time and you have to wonder if this would be the year that Dallas brings him back and gives him a shot. With Jair Benitez's age being what it is, it seems like a good question to ask.

The Money

Here is the defenders salary numbers based on their total compensation in 2013:

Kellyn Acosta - $70,500*

Jair Benitez - $90,000

Matt Hedges - $64,500

Moises Hernandez - $48,125*

Ugo Ihemelu - $200,000

George John - $301,667

Stephen Keel - $46,500

Zach Loyd - $136,997

Michel - $81,500

London Woodberry - $46,500*

Walker Zimmerman - $155,100**

* Homegrown player, salary does not count towards the cap

** Generation adidas player, salary does not count towards the cap

Total towards the cap: $921,164

Total with the goalkeepers number: $1,248,664

Money going forward

Given raises for some players and potentially new contracts, we should see that cap number go up just slightly, but that is also only if the club doesn't tap into that Ihemelu money right away.

They do however have two Homegrown products in college that could be worth a look in Mikey Ambrose and Boyd Okwuono. I should point out about both of those players that I don't expect either one to get signed this winter by the club. Okwuono is the more likely of the two to get signed but I still feel he is probably a year away. The club won't comment on signing either player at this time now too (gotta protect those 'amateur status' with the NCAA).

Needs and wants for 2014

I do want to point out that we shouldn't be shocked to see the club go after another defensive-type player in next January's SuperDraft either. Dan Hunt mentioned it a couple times when asked in a recent media call that he would prefer to build from the defense through the draft, which given the last few years, the club has done a good job in the draft in that regards. The number of quality attackers in this year's draft will be limited again, so the club could build depth that way. I wouldn't be totally against it if it came down to it.

I think overall, the money is being well spent in the defense right now. There is depth at each position, some even go a couple players deep after the starters, which in this league is something you want. I think finding one more center back and maybe another full back this winter wouldn't be the worst thing to do, for depth, as long as they come in cheap.

Final thoughts and figures

So between the goalkeepers and defenders, the club has a little over a third of the salary cap filled up already based on the current roster. But we should see some flexibility once they figure out what to do with Loyd and Ihemelu. Either neither player gets re-signed, that will be a lot of money back to play with, we're talking nearly $400k worth. In this league you can do a lot in the defensive department with that kind of money.

What do you all think of the money spent so far on this club? Excited to see the club have some good money to work with in 2014 in this area? Would you spend less on a defense in this league? Let's hear it in the comments below.