The last couple of weeks, most of us here at Big D Soccer were wondering a lot of what was to come in terms of the roster for next year. We know the offseason schedule hits hard and furious once December rolls around and that FC Dallas would have to make moves at some point. Yesterday was that point in the calendar for us.
So we know that 20 players remain on the team while eight roster spots open up. Where does the team go from here? Time to dive into how this will all shape up by the end of February when the team is back on the field for the Champions League.
Sort out the drafts
The next big thing on the list is certainly the various drafts that will come up in the month of December and January. The protection list for the Expansion Draft is something we’ve already touched on a bit here and will continue to do so up until the draft.
The Re-Entry Draft is always an interesting spot to find talent for a roster. FCD took advantage of it last year with getting Maxi Urruti. Once we know who is available for that draft, we’ll know a little more about how FCD will approach that one.
Same will be said for free agency and any of the waiver drafts.
Add some veterans
If you look at the players that are on their way out of Frisco, six of the ten are on the older side of things. As much as we want to see FC Dallas remain a team that is built on youth, there is a big need for veteran leadership in the locker room.
One good way to do this is through the Re-Entry Draft next month, or through the league’s free agency system. Getting guys in that know the league and how to navigate the heavy travel is key.
The other way is to do exactly what Fernando Clavijo did last offseason, by going overseas and finding talent that can contribute for the Champions League games that will be on the schedule both next spring and late summer. The club will need guys that understand how to play on the road in places like Panama and Mexico in the spring or in places like Guatemala, Costa Rica or somewhere in the Caribbean in the fall.
Figure out the Moises Hernandez situation
We certainly didn’t talk about it a ton but there wasn’t a lot of surprise when FCD loaned out the Homegrown fullback for 2016 to the NASL’s Rayo OKC. We know Hernandez is under contract for 2017 and it really will come down to the player and coach as to whether or not he will fit in here again in 2017.
Dallas needs fullback depth, that much was evident towards the end of the season. Hernandez is a capable player and showed well in the 26 games that he appeared in for Rayo.
Continue on with the Homegrown path
We’ve already seen two Homegrown players signed this fall, so why not another for next year? The team does have a plethora of talent waiting in the wings in the academy system. We know Clavijo wants to sign more and probably has felt some pressure to do so after losing out on a guy like Weston McKennie earlier this year.
Guys like Devin Vega and Reggie Cannon continue to pop up in our minds. But don’t sleep on them maybe adding in another name like Nicolas Rochowski out of New Mexico.
Go for broke again in a DP
We know Mauro Diaz is going to be on the shelf for a few months in 2017 as he continues to heal. Fabian Castillo likely won’t return from his loan as we still expect him to be sold this winter.
So that leaves one prized Designated Player spot open for the team to do some good with this winter. If we can get another impact player like the team did with Carlos Gruezo, then I am all for the team spending money the same way this offseason.
Lock Pareja up long-term
I haven’t advocated for this in a while but I think it is something that does need to happen this offseason. As much as I am curious about all the roster stuff that the team will do this winter, I really do hope the Hunts take the time to get a new contract for Oscar Pareja together to keep him here for the long run. We know the value of the guy and after all, he did bring us two title this season.