We're at day three in our roster building series as we look at FC Dallas' midfield section.
For starters, something I would like to point out with is that the MLS salary cap this year was right at $3.3 million. So for our purposes in this series, we will use a baseline cap of $3.5 million as the cap is expected to slowly reach $4.2 million by 2019.
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. Unlike in years past, FC Dallas will not be getting any of the 'you suck' allocation for not reaching the playoffs. Instead they will need to rely on trades and any potential transfers (doubtful) to build up any additional allocation funds.
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.
The numbers and questions
Once again, clearly defining where a guy is definitely going to play under Oscar Pareja is challenging at best. Since yesterday we threw Atiba Harris and Ryan Hollingshead in with the defense, we'll make sure they aren't in with the midfield group today.
1. Will more depth on the wings arrive? You could easily argue that Tesho Akindele, Alejeandro Zendejas or even a Coy Craft are depth on the wings under Pareja. Same could be said about Je-Vaughn Watson, Hollingshead or Harris. The fact is that right now, I'd argue that the wing depth is back to where it was at the start of the year, very sketchy behind Fabian Castillo and Michael Barrios. As good as those two are, they need some support behind them.
2. A shift in formation? We've wondered aloud for a while whether or not Pareja would stay in a 4-2-3-1 for the long haul with this bunch. Adding in a guy like Ezequiel Cirigliano this year made us think even harder at that. Same could be said with how well Kellyn Acosta played down the stretch. is a 4-4-2 in the mix for this club next year with Acosta or Cirigliano in the defensive-mid role? That may all come down to who the club finds at striker.
3. Will any veterans be added to this group? If you include Rolando Escobar in this group (which I am), everyone else in this group is way below the 30 year old mark in age. While there is nothing wrong with that I do wonder if some veteran leadership is missing in this area.
4. Will Cirigliano's loan be extended or bought out? This may be a little reported item of the offseason but one has to wonder if the club really got enough out of EZ while he was here. He didn't make it onto the field right away when he landed in Dallas and he never truly found a way to beat out the likes of Ulloa or Acosta for a starting spot. I think he returns but there are questions surrounding it.
Here is what our guys made against the cap in 2015:
Kellyn Acosta $84,000**
Michael Barrios $60,000
Fabian Castillo $160,000#
Ezequiel Cirigliano $167,999
Mauro Diaz $442,400#
Rolando Escobar $185,000
Victor Ulloa $60,000
** Homegrown player, salary does not count towards the cap
# Designated Player ($436,250 max charge against salary cap)
Total towards the cap: $1,153,249
Total with the goalkeepers and defenders: $1,984,915
Money moving forward
Just like we've discussed in previous articles, raises will be given all around in some way. FCD is making out like bandits with guys like Barrios and Ulloa. Acosta's number will definitely go up as he comes off his first HGP deal into a senior contract.
The spending in this area is still very good but could be better. Adding in those three or four pieces will definitely be interesting to watch, especially with the new Target Allocation Money.
Needs and wants for 2016
Again this comes down to depth in all areas and a decision as to what formation makes sense. I still long for that midfield destroyer behind Diaz. Acosta could be working his way into being that guy. So could Cirigliano.
Final figures and thoughts
This feels fairly similar to last winter where we were just a few hundred thousand dollars lower in against the cap at this same point. I expect at least three or four more players in this area, possibly guys that can be used all around on this roster. My gut also tells me one of those will be a draft pick that we loan out at some point next year to a USL team.
What do you make of how FCD is spending on the midfield so far? Do you like that the young core is making up this area or would you like to see some more veteran players be added?