In an odd way, this past post-season felt both equal parts long and short. It was long in the sense that I couldn't wait for the season to begin, and that level of anticipation always makes things feel longer but it also felt pretty short. It felt like yesterday American fans were saying farewell to Landon Donovan.
But now that things are finally underway again, let's take a quick look into how things stack up for Dallas roster and depth wise. A lot of credit to the kind folks at Sounders at Heart, and to Susie Rantz who gave me the template to work on this graphic.
Just a couple things to note, I only included players with a contract. So this does not include Je-Vaughn Watson (who if signed would take up another International Spot).
And as you can see, I also only went with one formation here and the depth chart isn't exact. For example. I would throw Tesho as first backup to Blas, but also start Tesho at the right wing for now. And of course there are players here who could play multiple positions - Zach Loyd at CB, RB and even somewhere in the midfield, along with Kellyn Acosta as a RB, LB or defensive mid. So the depth will likely change, depending on the formation and who was out there, but this is just a general guide to give a more visual look to see who Dallas has on the team and who could be playing where.
And as for the projected starter, this is just my speculation. I have no insider knowledge, but this seems like the way things will go if the current squad remains heading into the season (which it won't).
Positions That Are Set
From the look of things, it appears that both outside back spots are pretty well covered with Moises Hernandez and Otis Earle taking the left back spot with Kellyn Acosta, Zach Loyd and Michel able to play there as well. The right back position is also pretty set with Acosta, Loyd and Atiba Harris able to go there. (Oscar Pareja indicated that Harris will be working the right back spot at the start of pre-season.)
Also looking pretty good would be the keeper position with Dan Kennedy, Chris Seitz and Jesse Gonzalez. I know Drew has mentioned the possibility of adding a fourth keeper with Gonzalez expecting to miss some time this summer at the U-20 World Cup, but for now this group looks solid.
Also looking pretty good would be the forward position, at least in this 4-2-3-1 set up with Blas Perez, Tesho Akindele, David Texeira, Coy Craft, Alex Zendejas and Fabian Castillo all able to play up top. However, should the team field a 4-4-2 or even a 4-3-3, then maybe adding one more forward wouldn't be out of the question.
Positions That Need More
Center back is the obvious one with Stephen Keel and Walker Zimmerman missing significant time with injuries last season, having another natural center back wouldn't be a bad thing. Although Zach Loyd and Je-Vaughn Watson (if he signs) are able to play there if necessary.
The center midfield is also looking a bit weak. Victor Ulloa, Kyle Bekker and Michel are capable holding midfielders but they are both more excel on the technical side of the ball, and not as much on the ball winning aspect. This team may be going for an all out possession oriented style of play, which would negate the need for that enforcer type of player but in this league, having someone with some bite wouldn't hurt.
The other that's lacking a bit is the attacking midfield as we can't know for sure how long Mauro Diaz's knees and hamstrings can hold up for the duration of the season. Danny Garcia had his moments where he looked like a first team regular, but he may still be a bit too green to be given the reigns like he was last season.
What do y'all think? Where would you like Dallas to add a few more players?
Also, over the next couple of weeks I'll dive into a position by position battle between the players and take a poll to see who y'all think will be our starting XI by March 7th.