The season has been in the books for almost a week now for FC Dallas. We’re working through on how to make sense of everything as we look at the hows, the whys, and everything else in-between.
How did the 2017 season go? The 2017 season for FC Dallas a pure roller coaster for fans and everyone involved. The team was good enough at one point to push Pachuca to the limit in the CONCACAF Champions League but bad enough to go winless for 10 games towards the end of the summer.
What we learned: The biggest thing we learned is that Oscar Pareja is human. While we gave him a lot of grace throughout the year since we trusted what he would do with his lineup selection, 2017 got away from him in the last three months as nothing he put together appeared to work for longer than a single game.
Game that best summarized the season: September 27, a 2-0 win over the Colorado Rapids.
There really was two different seasons in this year but once July hit, everything went down hill fast for FC Dallas. By the end of it all, it looked as though this team was backing their way into the end of the year.
Against Colorado, FC Dallas started out dominant with two goals in the first ten minutes but shortly after that they slammed the brakes and looked like a team that just didn’t know what it wanted to do going forward (it also didn’t hurt that the Rapids had basically given up after the two goals).
BREAKING: This is what a playoff chase looks like pic.twitter.com/Zh545vFLzt— Big D Soccer (@BigDSoccer) September 28, 2017
What went right: The first half of the season showed that the depth was there and that this team could sit back and control their destiny. Pareja was pushing the right buttons with a nine-game unbeaten run to begin the year. Maxi Urruti was scoring goals left and right. The #YearofKellyn was off to a great start.
What went wrong: There are a lot of things that went wrong. Injuries happened including a rough one to Walker Zimmerman at the start of the summer that derailed his play for the rest of the year. International call ups took over the roster in the summer and forced a lot of rotation for Pareja. And then came the slump...a massive ten-game winless run that span around two months. Urruti and Michael Barrios then began getting interest from overseas that turned into a bidding war where FCD ended up turning down a $5 million offer for the duo.
Pareja tried everything he could to push the right buttons but nothing seemed to work.
Biggest surprise: The locker room chemistry died in the summer with the winless run. Maybe it was the transfer rumors, the constant rotation or something else entirely but nothing seemed to get the chemsitry back to what it once was in 2016.
Unexpectedly awesome performance: Barrios the assist man. Going into the season the biggest knock on the Colombian was how poor his crossing could be from the wings but Pareja and company worked hard with him to improve that aspect of his game. It paid off with a team-high 14 assists.
Player who fell short of expectations: On the surface, Roland Lamah’s 11 goals wasn’t bad but when you really dive into how he scored and who he scored against, it is pretty clear that he wasn’t truly a good fit for this team’s style of attacking.
What needs to change for 2018: As odd as it sounds, youth needs to be the focus again for this club. They may have the most Homegrown players in MLS on their roster but they need to turn to them more. Reggie Cannon needs to be the starting right back. Paxton Pomykal needs more minutes in the attack. Jesus Ferreira and Bryan Reynolds need time with the team. And if you keep a guy like Coy Craft, give him a run in the defensive wings, because that may be the only thing that will keep him in Frisco.
Outside of that, there needs to be a serious look at getting a true number nine in for the attack and more speed on the wings.
Coach grade: C+...it is easy to forget that he nearly lead this team to a CCL title game.
Overall team grade: C-...When they wanted to be good, they were. But boy, they were just average the majority of the time.