(Editor's note: for whatever it is worth, I've been sitting on this article for a few weeks. My bad.)
On Monday, the Seattle Sounders loaned out rookie forward Eriq Zavaleta and the thought grew deeper for me. When will FC Dallas do the same? With each passing Homegrown signing, I am always asked the question, 'when will they get minutes?'
The question is always a valid one too. We've seen loans that work out very well like in the case with defender Moises Hernandez. Last year FC Dallas gambled on sending the young Homegrown Player to play with Guatemalan club Comunicaciones. Right after that loan ended, the club worked out a deal to loan him to Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa.
In each spot Hernandez has showed well, picking up minutes here and there. Likely more minutes than he would have in Dallas. Not to mention the experience of a young player getting to train and play in a foreign environment is huge too. Hernandez has grown from a boy into a man during his time in Costa Rica. I saw him in town recently while he was here on break and I honestly didn't recognize him.
But not all loans are made equal. FC Dallas fans will recall the Ruben Luna loan to NASL side San Antonio last year. There were reports that Luna wanted to return home just days after joining the Scorpions. (Luna got cut shortly after the season was over but he is now with NASL side Atlanta and is doing very well there thankfully)
Schellas Hyndman told me earlier this year that the club is always actively looking for loans for their players. But it does come down to a few factors. Placing the right young player in the right situation where he'll get minutes is key. As Hyndman put it, you don't want to send a player to Santos in Brazil for him to just sit on the bench.
Below are my choices and potential landing spots for each of them.
Jonathan Top - Top hasn't seen much action this year and will likely need some minutes elsewhere at some point this year. He missed out on the US U-20 roster for the World Cup next month in Turkey, which means he really should be loaned sooner rather than later. The reserve league games just won't be enough in my book for him.
Possible destination: NASL or USL, either one
Odds of happening: I would hope it is pretty good, he seems to be the perfect candidate to get some minutes elsewhere
Bradlee Baladez - Baladez is in the same camp as Top. With Kenny Cooper, Blas Perez and Eric Hassli all in front of him on the depth charts, Baladez needs minutes, more so than the US Open Cup and Reserve league. Loaning them both out seems unlikely but it wouldn't be the worst thing that can happen. A lot can depend on how deep the club goes in the US Open Cup.
Possibile destination: USL
Odds of happening: lower at the moment but possibly higher in a few weeks?
Victor Ulloa - Another young guy that is low in the depth charts for his position. This summer is certainly a put-up or shut-up time for Ulloa. If he doesn't prove his worth soon or at least get a loan and handles it well, then you can't expect him to be around Frisco much longer. He needs minutes more than ever with Michel, Je-Vaughn Watson, Bobby Warshaw and Andrew Jacobson all above him in the depth charts.
Possibly destination: USL
Odds of happening: should be higher than they appear but it all is about finding the right location.
Jesse Gonzalez/Richard Sanchez - I always figured one of these two guys would get loaned this year. Even before the whole "sale" rumor of Sanchez and Tigres, I was told a loan would be the most likely situation for him this summer. Well with the U20 World Cup quickly approaching, that seems less likely for now. Maybe afterwards. For Gonzalez the same may be true as well.
Possibile destination: Mexico
Odds of happening: very low for both at the moment.