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How international absences could affect FC Dallas this year

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Between Olympics, Copa America Centenario and World Cup qualifiers, it will be a busy year for FC Dallas players.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The FC Dallas squad assembled this year is one of the strongest in franchise history, if not the strongest, but it'll be difficult to have everyone at Oscar Pareja's disposal for the entirety of the season. From 2018 World Cup qualifiers to Copa America Centenario, to the Olympics, there's plenty of international commitments for players this year and for several members of FC Dallas' roster, that's no exception.

Perhaps this is a reason why Pareja and Fernando Clavijo worked doubly hard to ensure the squad had sufficient depth for the season even during the periods some players will likely be gone. Maynor Figueroa and Tesho Akindele will almost certainly be called up for Honduras and Canada respectively for World Cup qualifying action, as should Moises Hernandez for Guatemala. Carlos Gruezo and Fabian Castillo could also be listed in Ecuador and Colombia's squads, but that is still pretty much a 50-50 in terms of probability. The latter pair could also be included in their countries' Copa America Centenario squads come June, a tournament which will last four weeks and mean that they will miss four MLS games in the process, despite the fact that the league will be on break at the time.

It's possible that Kellyn Acosta and maybe even Matt Hedges make the cut for the USMNT for that tournament too. Acosta, though, surely will be in the U.S. U-23 squad that'll face Colombia at the end of this month in an Olympic qualifying play-off with the second of those two matches set to take place at FCD's very own Toyota Stadium. Whoever comes out on top, one of Acosta or Castillo will likely join Mexico's Jesse Gonzalez on the plane to Brazil for the summer festivities in August.

Four league matches will be played while Copa America Centenario is in duration, two during the Olympics, and two during World Cup/Olympic qualifying dates. That's a total of eight games that we could see a number of players missing for due to international duties, almost twice as big as the danger that it posed last year. 2016 will be a busy year of international soccer worldwide and FC Dallas like many others will have to deal with its implications but hopefully, with the roster as deep and filled with quality options as ever before, it'll be able to cope without too many setbacks.

Editor's note: The club has already seen five players called into international duty this year with young players like Coy Craft and Alejandro Zendejas picking up youth national team minutes as well as seeing Gonzalez, Akindele and Atiba Harris earn calls from their respective countries as well.