The preseason really begins to ramp up the value and meaning this weekend as FC Dallas heads to Austin, Texas for the ATX Pro Challenge. FCD will play the Columbus Crew SC tomorrow evening and either the Austin Aztex or D.C. United on Sunday.
With two meaningful games on the horizon for Oscar Pareja's bunch, there will be plenty to gain out of these two matches against some MLS competition. But what exactly should we be looking for in these two games out of FCD? Time to dive into some items we'll be keeping a close eye on.
At this stage in the preseason, getting valuable time outside of the facilities in Frisco is actually a big deal. FCD has several key players back from last year's conference semifinal run, meaning that there is already a great deal of team chemistry in the mix.
This weekend will truly be about finding ways to integrate guys like Kyle Bekker, Atiba Harris, rookies Otis Earle and Alejandro Zendejas more with the club.
Proving their worth
We've talked before about who needs a big preseason but the more I look at it the more I think guys like Mauro Diaz and David Texeira need a big run in games like these. Both are the club's Designated Players, so there is added pressure on them to perform at a higher level.
Texeira for one has to find ways to get quality minutes with the first team this preseason and more importantly find the back of the net in the process. He is a great goalscorer in the penalty box but as we saw in 2014, his chances were limited. Getting quality minutes and chances on goal will go a long way in proving to everyone that he is DP material for this club and the league.
Diaz on the other hand just needs quality minutes where he doesn't get banged up. With all the talent returning from last year, it will be vital for Pareja to get Diaz worked into the lineup in a way that fits this team's personality.
Newbies getting their time
I mentioned it in the chemistry part but this really goes more to the unsigned rookies and trialists that are still with the club. If any of them have a shot at making this team, it will be won this weekend. Getting good minutes against good competition like Columbus and potentially DC will go a long way proving to the front office that they are worth the gamble in signing.
I look at a guy like Canadian U-20 international Jaineil Hoilett, who has shown well at times this preseason. He has to find a way to shine while getting limited minutes (Blas Perez and Tesho Akindele will likely get starts this weekend if we're honest).
What are you looking forward to seeing this weekend? Will you be in Austin? Sound off below.