A majority of MLS clubs have made their offseason plans by extending or not extending contracts to their players for 2018.
From that list of players, there will be those that are free agency bound, Re-Entry Draft bound, on the waiver wire, and there are even players that their teams will be willing to trade.
There are many things that can happen, between now, and the start of the regular season. Players can still re-sign with their previous clubs or could even move on to overseas clubs. But there are a few guys that are available, that could be a solid fit in FCD.
One thing I have to point out is that FC Dallas is participating in the CONCACAF Champions League. That means that FC Dallas will have meaningful games in February. Last CCL, FC Dallas made it to the semifinals and just fell short against eventual champions, Pachuca. Most of the players listed here are the kind of players that could be brought in, if FC Dallas wishes to make a deep run in the CCL, and give itself a legitimate chance at winning it.
I will also add, that I am a big fan of several of the players listed here. Players, that some of you like, and might not have even considered as a possible addition to the FC Dallas roster. I will wax poetic about what these players bring to the table, only to tell you, that these are players FC Dallas should avoid, and why.
So without further ado, here are the “Avoid 5”:
As of this writing, Maynor Figueroa has yet to resign with FC Dallas. Young designated player Anibal Chala is still on loan and is an unknown quantity. Aaron Guillen was released. This leaves Ryan Hollingshead, as the most likely starter. The longtime Dynamo and USMNT left back, would be seen by many as an instant upgrade for FC Dallas.
Run DMB can also play winger and brings excellent speed that FC Dallas has lacked on the left side, since he who shall not be named, played in Frisco. Add to that excellent emergency defending, and a ton of international experience, of particular importance, is the experience he brings playing in the hostile environments that CONCACAF has to offer. So Beasley brings to the table, everything that FC Dallas covets at left back. I could see Run DMB make a seamless transition into the FC Dallas starting lineup, from day one.
So why should FC Dallas avoid Run DMB?
Those fans clamoring for FC Dallas to move on from Maynor Figueroa, consistently point to the Honduran player’s age (34 years old). In this case, Beasley is actually one year older than Figueroa. Beasley is also a smaller player (5’8 145lbs) who relies on his speed, and as you age, and your knees start to wear, speed is the first thing to go. My case for FC Dallas to avoid Beasley is nothing more than avoiding “Diminishing Returns”. Beasley’s best days are behind him, and he has not played more than 24 matches in each of the last 2 seasons (compared to 26 and 28 by Maynor). There’s also the possibility that FC Dallas would have to avoid playing Beasley on turf fields, thus sparing his knees.
I’m a big fan of Jermaine Jones and his style of play. His base salary from 2017 ($600,00 base), could easily be brought down with TAM. Jones would bring a menacing presence to the midfield (6’0 170lbs), and the type of skills and athletic ability that could single-handedly dominate a match. Like Beasley, Jones also offers a plethora of international experience. If Gruezo, or Acosta, were to depart this offseason, Jones would make a lot of sense as a replacement.
The biggest knock against Jones and the one reason FC Dallas should avoid him is health. Jones (36 years old) has only played a combined 29 matches in the past two seasons. With FC Dallas already having a fragile starter (Diaz) in the midfield, the last thing they want to do is add another. Also, if FC Dallas was to lose Acosta or Gruezo in the offseason, they have solid depth at that position in Victor Ulloa and Jacori Hayes. This would afford FC Dallas the opportunity to gamble on a young midfielder with upside at the position.
The Los Angeles Galaxy has let it be known, that they are willing to listen to offers for the USMNT forward. Zardes burst onto the scene back in 2014 with a 16 goal season. Zardes parlayed that season into a USMNT call-up and has been a regular for the National team ever since. Zardes, at 26 years old, still has room to improve, and has a very affordable base salary ($577,500). While he has seen his scoring in MLS drop significantly in the past two seasons, there are still many that feel a change of scenery will solve that problem.
So the age is right, the price is right, and he’s available for the right price. The last part is where the rub lies. The right price may just be too steep to pay. For reference, you need only look back to the Orlando City SC trade earlier last season, for Dom Dwyer;
US national team striker Dom Dwyer was traded to Orlando for $400,000 in General Allocation Money, $500,000 in Targeted Allocation Money, and $700,000 in future allocation money based on performance. In total, the trade package could reach $1.6 million in allocation monies, a new record for MLS.
The Dwyer trade proved that certain players have more value within MLS. Don’t think that the Galaxy didn’t notice. There were rumors last season that LAG turned down a 2.5 million dollar offer for Zardes, from teams in Europe. Look for LAG to ask for a similar deal, within MLS, if not higher. That amount, is something FCD should not pay, for a player that has highlights like this:
Giles Barnes is the kind of player that marks every box, in the list of things FC Dallas looks for in a player. Giles plays in a position of need (center forward), can play multiple positions (center attacking mid, left wing), and is in his prime (29 years old). A veteran MLS player since 2012, Giles is a durable player, who made 34 appearances for Orlando City SC last season. He is also an experienced international player, with 19 caps for the Jamaican national team. With a base salary just under $800,000, and available on a free transfer, Giles falls within FCD's price range.
The reason FC Dallas should avoid Barnes comes down to production or lack thereof. Here are the stats for Barnes 2017 season: 34 games played, 23 starts, 2137 minutes, 52 shots, 16 shots on goal, 3 goals, 2 assists.
That's one goal and one assist more than Cristian Colman, but achieved with twice as many minutes, and more than twice the salary. No, thanks.
The former Vancouver center midfielder is considered one of the best holding midfielders in MLS. Just 25 years old, the Argentine playmaker, would blend right in with the South-American centric FC Dallas locker room. Five years of MLS experience, averaging 26 appearances per year. Laba lacks the international profile of others listed here, but has CCL experience with Vancouver last season, and has international experience at the U20 level. He has a manageable salary of $725,000.
Laba is coming off an ACL injury on his right leg, that he suffered in August. This is the main reason for FCD to stay away. Even though a full recovery is expected by the start of the 2018 season, this kind of injury could take several years (if ever) to recover from. FC Dallas just went through the whole recovery from major injury thing, with Mauro Diaz, and I would not want to see FC Dallas go through it again (with Laba).
So what do you think? Agree or disagree? Are there other players, FC Dallas should avoid?