The offseason is officially here. FC Dallas released their updated roster in which they will build upon going into the 2018 season. With the updated roster, there is a bit of optimism leading into the new campaign. We now know the foundation of the squad that will hopefully get us back into the playoffs.
As of right now, there are currently 20 players on the roster. That includes five strikers/forwards, one creative midfielder, two center backs and one goalkeeper. The oldest player on the roster right now is Lamah (29) and the youngest is Jesus Ferreira (17). The team looks really green and has basically been stripped down to it’s core.
Luckily, the spine of the squad is intact, for now. We still have Jesse Gonzalez, Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, Carlos Gruezo and Kellyn Acosta. Obviously, a lot can change between now and the beginning of the season, but that is a good starting point looking forward.
Just taking a quick glance at the depth chart, there are some glaring holes in the current squad.
FCD rolled with two keepers for most of the year in 2017. There were a couple of times where they had to sign a goalie on emergency loan just to have a backup in the game day 18. Hopefully, this year they are able to sign at least one quality keeper and as well as one development keeper. It feels like it’s only a matter of time before Jesse moves on to a bigger stage. In a perfect world, FCD would be able to mold his successor now while he is still here.
The front office has a lot of work ahead of them. They will need to sign at least two if not three more center backs. This number really depends on the formation that Papi will look at implemented in 2018. It was hinted that he might be looking at going to a back three in 2017 but wasn’t able to with the injury to Anibal Chala. Now that Chala is back and healthy, does Papi look at trying the back three again?
Last year, the backline was severely lacking in any kind of depth and the team massively paid the price for it. In a perfect world, FCD is able to get two more MLS proven CBs, one of which possibly being Maynor, and one younger prospect to take Walker’s spot when he moves on.
As of right now, Reggie Cannon is the only right back on the roster. That’s great for those of us who were screaming for him to be put into the starting lineup last year, but it’s also kind of scary to put so much on the shoulders of a 19 year old who has like 4 minutes of total MLS game time. I would assume the club would probably be looking at bringing in a veteran RB to help bridge the gap for Reggie. The new player will probably be there cover if Reggie isn’t able to perform at a given level or in case of injury. In any case, the RB position looks like it’s Reggie’s to lose, which is great news for us all.
In regards to the midfield, the club will probably bring in another 2-3 guys on loan from South American countries. They will possibly play in the early rounds of the USOC and then never be seen again. The biggest questions mark in the midfield going forward will be what happens with Kellyn Acosta. Does he get his move to Europe in the January window or does he hold off for another year? If he does leave, I would be interested to see if Papi would trust Jacori or even Paxton to hold down the #8 role in the squad. That’s probably another discussion for another time. However, if we do sign another quality box-to-box midfielder, it could be pointing to something down the road. Definitely something to keep an eye on looking forward.
This team has been begging for a quality backup to Mauro for a couple of years. Mauro Rosales offered some kind of relief in 2016, but he just didn’t have the legs to do it for 90 minutes. In 2017, there was nothing. Kellyn slid into more of a playmaking role, but it just doesn’t fit his game right now. I am still praying that the #BringLeeHome movement takes off, but if it doesn’t, Fernando and company will need to find someone to help unlock defenses when Mauro is off the field.
Also, there is still no guarantee that we ever get the magic of Mauro from two years ago back. Achilles’ injuries are brutal. He struggled for a lot of the year and wasn’t at 100%. If he isn’t able to return to this former self, what then?
Lamah. That is really the only guy who should start on the depth chart at that position. God help us all (I kid, I kid - kind of). When FCD was at their height of power we had to wingers who were bombing down the sidelines of the field. This team seemed to struggle with that in 2017. Most of the speed came with Mikey on the right side. Defenses were shifting to him, negating any advantage he had. The team didn’t have a counter to that. Lamah had a decent campaign in the amount of goals he scored and the amount of minutes he ate up, but he didn’t really force defenses to account for him.
Tesho is behind him, but he is probably best suited as a super sub at this point. He has shown glimpses of greatness, but just isn’t consistent enough to be doing it at 60+ minutes a game. I still love Tesho and agree with this article whole heartedly about his place in the team going forward.
You would like to see the club go out and get another burner out wide. Someone who can stretch the defense and get behind teams playing high lines. This will probably be another loan player with an option to buy, possibly a ‘Fernando special’.
I am really excited to see what the team looks like come February. There is still a lot of potential, youth and excitement in the squad. If the team can find a couple of solid MLS free agents and hit on one or two international signings, they could be right back up in the thick of things next year. Looking at the remaining teams in the Western Conference gives me hope. Neither Houston nor Seattle having incredibly loaded teams. They can both be beat on any given day. FC Dallas isn’t that far off. Let’s hope we hit on a few players, get a bit lucky and have a great offseason.