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Building for 2017: How the FC Dallas midfield stacks up

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Part three of our roster building series.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Like we’ve stated on here a few times as of late, the bulk of the offseason is about to pick up with all the various drafts that the league does. Today we continue on in our look at next year’s FC Dallas roster with a look at the midfield.

Background information

For starters, something I would like to point out with is that the MLS salary cap this year was right at $3.66 million. So for our purposes in this series, we will use a baseline cap of $3.75 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 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.

Seven players and many gaps

  1. Depth, depth, depth. We know when healthy we’re going to see guys like Diaz, Gruezo, Acosta, and Barrios start for this club. But outside of that, the gaps on the wings are lacking, especially if Castillo is finally sold this winter (more on that in a second). The depth behind Diaz is certainly lacking at this point now that we know Mauro Rosales isn’t in the plans yet in 2017 (though he could still be re-signed).
  2. Talking Castillo. Will he be sold or will he return? That has been the question on a lot of people’s minds since the day he was loaned to Trazbonspor back in the summer. My gut still tells me that no matter how poorly he has been playing there or even the lack of time he has had so far, he ain’t coming back. He’ll either be sold to Trabzonspor or someone else. Either way, I would be pretty shocked to see him back in Dallas next year. Saying all that, he has to be replaced this winter.
  3. Veteran additions. One thing that got FCD through this amazing season in 2016 was having guys like Juan Esteban Ortiz and Rosales. Sure, Ortiz wasn’t great but he fit the need of playing in those CCL and USOC games when he was out there. FCD has to get more guys like this for those extra games but for the locker room in general.
  4. Pray for a speedy recovery for Diaz or....move on. Guys, gals, a return from an Achilles’ injury is no easy task. Returning from a torn Achilles’ is really massive task. Oscar Pareja and Fernando Clavijo have to make the tough decision this offseason as to whether or not they gamble correctly on hoping he recovers fully and can be his normal creative self, or they make the tough call to put a plan in place to get a guy in for First Kick that can be the new Diaz.

The money

Here is what our guys made against the cap in 2016:

Kellyn Acosta $240,000

Michael Barrios $70,000

Fabian Castillo $155,750*

Mauro Diaz $466,000#

Carlos Gruezo $450,000^

Timo Pitter $51,504

Paxton Pomykal $51,504**

Victor Ulloa $130,000

** Homegrown player, salary does not count towards the cap

# Senior Designated Player ($457,500 max charge against salary cap)

^ Young Designated Player ($200,000 max charge against salary cap)

Total towards the cap: $1,149,004

Total towards the cap w/ Castillo: $1,304,754

Total with the goalkeepers, defenders & Castillo: $2,144,254

Total with the goalkeepers and defenders: $1,988,504

Money moving forward

So there you have it. Almost $2 million of that estimated $3.75 cap for 2017. We know raises will kick in but that won’t affect these numbers all that much. Right now, this is a couple hundred grand less than it was this time last year. So once again FCD has the cap space to do a lot this winter in this area to fill the depth.

Needs and wants for 2017

For me it comes down to getting new pieces in that can compete on day one. Getting those pieces that we mentioned above will be huge in determining as to how well FCD will be able to compete in all the competitions that they are going to be in next year.

Final thoughts and figures

We know the club has a lot of space left to spend this winter on the few spots available on the roster. The midfield as we know is a key area of the team that has to be built properly. Pareja and Clavijo has done a great job over the last couple of years of plugging in the correct pieces. This winter will be a huge test for them as they look to figure out Diaz and Castillo and if they add another DP in this area.

What do you make of how FCD is spending in the midfield? Do you want to see more veterans added or continue to go with the youth movement that Pareja is doing?