The 2017 preseason is finally here for FC Dallas as the offseason comes to an end. Players will report to camp on Monday in Frisco as physicals and other medical tests are conducted before hitting the field for the first time in the new year.
There is a lot of work to be done between now and the first game of the year in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Arabe Unido on Thursday, February 23. The additional CCL games this year could be a big part of the strategy that Oscar Pareja plays with his lineup juggling. Here are a few positional battles that will be worth keeping an eye out for in the coming weeks.
While the Cristian Colman signing hasn’t been made official as of this writing, his battle up top with Maxi Urruti will be one that could define how this year will go for the club. We all expect Colman to come in and be the guy but we should also expect a pretty solid learning curve that could lend us to seeing Urruti get plenty of minutes early on in the season.
Throw in the fact that FC Dallas signed a number of Homegrown attackers in the offseason too and the forward bunch will be pretty packed with players jockeying for position this winter.
Right now, the one area that isn’t super deep may be in goal. As it stands, Chris Seitz and Jesse Gonzalez are the only two keepers on the books. We saw these two split time last season and I wouldn’t expect anything different in 2017.
Will we see a reverse of last year where Gonzalez came in as the incumbent between the pipes, only to have his starting gig taken away by the veteran Seitz?
The defensive wings
Both defensive wide spots are going to be hotly contested this season. On the right side you've got Costa Rican international Jose Salvatierra, Atiba Harris, Ryan Hollingshead and newly signed Homegrown player Reggie Cannon. On the left is veteran Maynor Figueroa and young Ecuadorian speedster Anibal Chala, not to mention HGP Moises Hernadnez.
The best part about all of this competition is that FCD has four natural fullbacks in Salvatierra, Cannon, Figueroa and Chala. The others are good depth pieces at this point too.
I would fully expect to see a lot of rotation between these players in 2017.
All those draft picks
It is pretty clear that FC Dallas won’t be able to sign all seven SuperDraft picks from this year. Rarely do they ever sign all SuperDraft picks in a year as it is but seven is going to be really tough to retain. But we know two are probably locks in first round pick Jacori Hayes and Adonijah Reid. Walker Hume could find his way into the roster due to the needed central back depth behind Walker Zimmerman and Matt Hedges.