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What is next for FC Dallas after their roster cuts?

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So we’re down to 20 players, how did it come to that?

MLS: FC Dallas at Orlando City SC Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The roster decision finally came down yesterday afternoon for FC Dallas. Now we have an idea of where Oscar Pareja and Fernando Clavijo are going this offseason with the roster construction.

But what do we make of all the moves? Some were head scratching (we’ll dive deeper into some of those) and others were about where we thought they’d be.

Making sense of the cuts

First off, when you look at the players not picked up for next year, you see a couple big things. First being the amount of international roster slots made available. Should Maynor Figueroa not re-sign with the team, that puts four available international roster slots out there for the team to work with in 2018. Given that FCD has a new international scout, that could come in real handy.

Next, is the money. FC Dallas was able to shed a good amount of salary yesterday from the roster, about a $1.5 million to be exact. Shedding salaries of guys like Javier Morales was a big deal given the small production the club got out of him in 2017. If you add in the rumored new TAM that is coming, there should be a lot to play around with in 2018.

After that is moving on from some younger players that either didn’t prove enough or just aren’t MLS quality at this point. I know it is disappointing to see two more Homegrown Players added to the pile of former HGPs but Aaron Guillen was a backup at best in this league and Coy Craft never was able to get over the hump (though I still argue he would be a hell of a full back if given the chance).

Lastly, there were some loans that had to come to an end. As good as Hernan Grana could be at times, the purchase price was likely too steep for FC Dallas to go all in on him with, not to mention, he wasn’t getting any younger either.

Where the roster stands at the moment

If you look at what the club has right now, it still has a very solid core group of players returning in 2018. You have most of the starting lineup that when up for it, can do some serious scoring. You still have a defensive core in Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, Jesse Gonzalez and Carlos Gruezo. Throw that on top of the potential of Anibal Chala and Reggie Cannon, and you can see where things are likely heading in 2018.

Immediate needs to fill

This one is pretty obvious and we’ll certainly take a good look at what needs to happen soon enough but the defense has large gaps behind the obvious starters right now. In fact, there is no depth other than maybe a Ryan Hollingshead right now in the back. Yeah, it be thin folks.

Then there is the obvious depth behind Mauro Diaz to discuss. Yet another thing we plan on diving more into this offseason.

Sorting out the happiness of Barrios and Urruti

This is another big one to discuss but for now we know Michael Barrios and Maxi Urruti are apart of this team for 2018. Whether or not they go through January without being sold may be another question.

We know Urruti was unhappy with the way the summer transfer saga unfolded with San Lorenzo and FC Dallas. If the club can smooth things over and get a happy Maxi back on the field in 2018, one that can produce again unlike the final 15 or so games of 2017, then it will be for the best. If not, then it may be high time to sell in the January window while you still can.

Early look at what is next

December is right around the corner and that means drafts, upon drafts, upon drafts.

Up first on December 10 is a half-day trade window in the league. There are no hard rumors yet as to whether or not FCD will be active on that day but it wouldn’t be the worst idea to see if they can swing in more allocation money or something in the process during this time. We know Clavijo loves to deal that stuff.

After that is the Expansion Draft on December 12, followed by the Waiver Draft on the 13th, and the first stage of the Re-Entry Draft on the 15th. Needless to say, that will be a busy week.