We're continuing with our 2015 Position Battles series, with Part 2: Leftbacks. This one may seem pretty straight forward since HGP Moises Hernandez took the starting job from incumbent Jair Benitez and the next guy on the roster is a rookie, but there might be other challengers to the position for 2015 (Kellyn Acosta and Zach Loyd).
So let's break it down and don't forget to cast your vote down below!
I'll admit that this isn't going to be very fair or accurate statistical comparison given all three players played in three different positions, plus I have nothing on Otis Earle. And while it may seem easy to just hand this over quickly to Hernandez, Oscar Pareja does not like having players go in thinking their spot is secure. So even if Otis Earle isn't ready to challenge, you can bet that Pareja will at least give Loyd and Acosta's looks there to keep Hernandez sharp.
Case for Hernandez
Naturally left footed and played significant minutes at left back for FC Dallas last season. More impressively was that he was able to take the spot over from Jair Benitez, even though he lacked experience playing at the MLS level. He very much looked the part of a starting caliber left back in this league and did a nice job getting up and down the left flank to either join up in the attack or use his recovery speed to shut down the opposition attacks. The question mark for Hernandez though is whether he will be disciplined enough to be a regular? He picked up 2 reds and 3 yellows in 2014 and Dallas cannot afford to shoot themselves in the foot like that again in 2015
Case for Loyd
He's the most senior player on the defense, has the experience, the speed and is an excellent tackler to stop attacks. The only problem with Loyd is that he's so versatile that he might be better served in another position than left back.
Case for Acosta
Acosta needs to see the field in some shape or form. He has endless energy and can run up and down the entire flank for a full 90. (Re-watch Dallas v Portland from 3/29 and just watch him go up and down that right flank in the 2nd half. Seriously. Watson picked up a red at half time, so Pareja had Acosta man the entire right side on his own. It was insane.) The problem is that Acosta is also very versatile and can play either fullback position or at center defensive mid too. Acosta's best chance to see minutes may be to challenge his fellow HGP at the leftback spot.
Case for Earle
Like I said earlier, Oscar Pareja likes his players to be challenged. What better way to challenge Hernandez than to shove a rookie ahead of him? I've never seen Earle play, so I can't say much about him other than that.
So what do you guys think? Vote below in the polls, sound off in the comment section. When we've covered all positions on the field, I'll tally the votes up and put together the Fan's Choice Starting XI.