After the USMNT January camp roster was released yesterday, one thing became the top talking point: No FC Dallas players were called in. At first glance it seemed like a snub, but since then, multiple reports that FC Dallas has denied releasing their players for the camp in preparation for the 2018 season.
On one hand, I’ve heard some grumblings that this isn’t entirely fair for the club to do that and the opportunity to represent the Red, White and Blue is an honor. Denying players like Kellyn Acosta, Matt Hedges and Jesse Gonzalez that honor is a bad move.
But is it?
Here are some reasons why FC Dallas did the right thing:
No head coach
The USMNT are still without a head coach. The goal now is the World Cup in 2022 and without knowing who’s the man or woman in charge of directing this team, there’s very little any player can do at this camp to separate themselves from the rest to bump themselves further up the depth chart.
Acosta is already a member of the team, having established himself as a regular in 2017. Hedges and Gonzalez are the two looking from the outside, but there’s practically nothing they can do at this camp that’ll increase their stock.
High risk, low reward
Perhaps the ‘Collapse of 2017’ is still too fresh on my mind, but that 2017 Gold Cup call up for Acosta and Hedges seemed to be the turning point for this club’s 2017 campaign. After they, along with Gonzalez, returned to the team, Dallas put together the worst fall in MLS history and ended the season below the red line.
There was something about that call up that really jacked with the play of Acosta and Hedges, two key players for this team. I still can’t put my finger on it, but neither player returned looking like international players. Both came back playing like MLS journeymen and the only thing we can point back to was that Gold Cup call.
At this point, with no head coach and direction, why risk exposing two of your best players to that kind of soccer environment?
Still a win for everyone
Acosta and Hedges’ stock have dipped drastically since the summer and the best way for them to recover is to simply play lights out again for FC Dallas. How these two in particular play for FC Dallas will speak louder than a camp and a pointless friendly.
If Dallas can perform well and get back to the semis in the CCL, then the fingers will point to Acosta and Hedges finding their mojo again.
Dallas does well, players’ stock rises. Everyone is happy. Win-win.