Well that was interesting yesterday huh? FC Dallas declined options on ten players including guys like Andres Escobar, Hendry Thomas and George John. Lots of big names and possibly more importantly a good amount of cap space to work with going into the main part of the offseason.
FCD technical director Fernando Clavijo told FCDallas.com yesterday following the announcement of the roster moves that the team sees using up the remaining few international roster spots to fill in the gaps.
"I would say between four or five and then maybe another one or two in the draft, so you're looking at between four to six or seven players and that's where we are," said Clavijo. "Again, there are still question marks on some of the players we didn't exercise in 2015 for different reasons that we need to figure out, but I would be surprised if, at the end of [next] season, we had more than six new players."
For what it is worth, the club did open up enough room to add several international players this offseason but they are leaving the door open to bring back a couple of the players that they declined options on too. One guy like Thomas seems to be a smart candidate to get back at a cheaper deal in 2015. While he may be coming off a bad knee injury, he proved to be useful as a midfield destroyer under Oscar Pareja in 2014.
Holes to fill through transfers, DPs, etc.
The decline of Escobar's contract, thus ending his one-year loan with the club was a move that opened up a Designated Player slot. Clavijo has stated a couple times not just in the article mentioned above but in passing over the last couple months that the club would be looking for upgrades and getting a DP would be part of that process.
There are no definite names to give out at this time but I'm sure some will love to point at the whole Michael Essien rumor now that Clavijo's son is the agent for the former Chelsea star.
I should also continue to point out that getting a player through the Allocation Order is definitely not going to happen. Monday morning that puppy resets and FC Dallas will immediately move down to 15th in that order (remember it uses the 2014 regular season finish plus playoff results to determine the order + plus the two expansion squads). As nice as it was to see the club at number one to finish out 2014, there was just never a time that FCD was able to make use of that spot (they tried with Sasha Kljestan though, I'll give them that).
I wouldn't be shocked to see the club work out a couple deals next week during the Expansion Draft too with the new clubs Orlando and New York City. Expansion drafts always bring up trades and deals as the new expansion teams unload some of their allocation money in deals. I'm sure if FCD can work out a deal to get back into the first two rounds of the SuperDraft next week, they will.
Then next week will be the first phase of the Re-Entry Draft too. Given the amount of names seeing options declined, I wouldn't be shocked at all to see FCD go this route to pick up at least one or two players. Maybe grab a defender like Bakery Soumare or Marvel Wynne, hitting up the midfield with someone like Sal Zizzo, Nick LaBrocca or Carlos Alvarez. Or maybe a forward option like Omar Cummings or Andrew Weideman.
The immediate needs
The needs really continue to be a lot of the same that they have been the last couple of years. There is a definite need in the back at center back though if Pareja continues to use Zach Loyd with Matt Hedges the depth behind them isn't too bad right now with Walker Zimmerman and Stephen Keel.
That means the outside back is a definite area of concern (that is the case even if Loyd is going to be used more as a right back in 2015). One or two additions there would be wise.
The center midfield area is always an area of concern for depth reasons, which is why I think the club will find a way to keep Thomas.
With Escobar gone, the outside flanks are once again very thin. Even though I do see Pareja using MLS Rookie of the Year Tesho Akindele more on the outside moving forward, adding some quality to the wings is likely one of the biggest areas of concern for 2015.