Now that the 2018 season is over for most teams, most of the league has already started dumping players from their 2019 roster in preparation to retool, prepare for the Expansion Draft, the MLS SuperDraft, free agency, winter transfer window, re-entry draft and of course, signing up some Homegrowns from the Academy.
FC Dallas has cleared some space (both physical and financial cap) by declining options on Roland Lamah, Abel Aguilar, Kris Reaves, Jordan Cano and Adonijah Reid. So Dallas has some room to play with to add a few pieces that could help them make a run for the MLS Cup, Shield and Open Cup in 2019.
As it stands, here’s roughly how the depth chart looks heading in to 2019:
Obviously, there are some changes depending on the formation and I included Chris Richards here since he’s still technically an FC Dallas player, though all signs point to him being sold soon. Also, the rumor is that Bryan Reynolds is possibly being converted into a right back. I don’t know for sure, but for now, let’s just say that’s happening and this is how the roster and depth chart look.
Automatically, the most glaring spots are center back, left and right wing, and right back given the overall lack of depth and experience in those positions.
So, with that as the back drop, here are five players FC Dallas should look at (in no particular order):
Disclaimer: We are looking at players who realistically could fit well here in Dallas. So, no one like Kei Kamara will be considered given his exorbitant salary demands and his penchant for being bit rough to get along with in the locker room. We’re also considering age, salary, experience, upside and role.
We’re also pretty shy about anyone who would require an international spot, considering the team’s general affinity for shopping in South America.
Finally, if you’re in the “shouldn’t the head coach have a say in what players he wants before this club goes and get players?” camp - please stop. Remember that Pareja was brought back on 1/10/2014, six days before the MLS SuperDraft. His roster was mostly set by that point. It’ll be fine. The head coach will have a say at some point, but better to give the head coach options and get players than to have none available.
1. Sheanon Williams - Right Back - 28 - Free Agent
Williams has made 186 starts and amassed 16726 minutes in MLS. He can get forward in the attack and defend well in spots. While I fully expect Reggie Cannon to hold on to his starting spot, having a veteran like Williams push and challenge Cannon would do nothing but elevate Cannon’s game. And if Williams can’t take the starting spot, he would be provide adequate cover should Cannon be called up or miss any time due to injury. Also, Williams made $72,500 in 2018 and as a free agent, would be relatively easy to get.
2. Kevin Ellis - Center back - 27 - Re-Entry
This won’t be the first time Ellis would’ve been linked to FC Dallas. Ellis had a trial/training stint with the team before the start of the 2018 season. For whatever reason, things didn’t pan out, but I’m still intrigued by him and what he can offer. He’s played in 90 matches and has put in 6972 minutes as an MLS player. In 2018, he provided 2 goals and 4 assists for the Chicago Fire before being placed on waivers and being picked up by DC United to finish out the season. The former Sporting Kansas City Homegrown Player can also play rightback and just about any position really across the defense. He made $158,333 in 2018, so Ellis would be a valuable and versatile depth piece for FC Dallas.
3. Cristian Techera - Winger - 26 - Re-Entry
It’s hard to imagine FC Dallas having two wingers at 5’2” but the speedy Uruguayan winger certainly has the chops to be a factor in MLS. At 26, he’s already played in 101 matches and has scored 23 goals and has added 15 assists in 6545 minutes. Techera will require an international spot, and while his salary of $412,000 in 2018 might be a bit much for a spot starter, just remember Roland Lamah made twice that while also scoring the same (8) number of goals in 2018.
4. Lamar Neagle - Winger - 31 - Free Agent
Something about FC Dallas seems to bring out the “Beast Mode” or the “Golazo” in Neagle. At this point, I’d rather see him line up for Dallas than against, just to keep him from scoring a screamer that puts a dagger into the backs of Dallas. Neagle has played 206 matches, scoring 40 goals and dishing out 25 assists in his career. He’s past his prime, but may relish having a chance to either push the youngsters in this team or even supplant them as they’re prone to slumps like most young players are. Plus, his 2018 salary was just $99,000. At that price, why not?
5. Walker Zimmerman - Center back - 25 - Re-Entry
OK, hear me out. This one is more of a “Hahahahahaha” at LAFC and Dallas would’ve made out like bandits if they got Zimmerman back after a year and netting nearly a cool million in allocation money. Zimmerman played his best soccer in 2016 for FC Dallas, had a bit of a falling out with Oscar Pareja but with Papi gone, has a chance to recapture his form back in Texas. Zimmerman is young, experienced, great in the air, and has a soft spot from Dallas fans thanks to his heroics in the 2015 playoffs against Seattle. He certainly got along well with the players here in Dallas and honestly, would you really be upset if Walker came back via Re-Entry?
Yangel Herrera - I don’t quite understand his situation. He was initially sent to NYCFC from Manchester City on a two year loan. I don’t know if his option not being picked up means he’s going back to Man City or something else. But the 20 year old defensive midfielder would’ve been a fascinating pick up.
Ian Harkes - I’m a bit surprised DC United didn’t think they could get something from Harkes. Not even a second round draft pick? I’m not sure he’s good enough, but at 23, he was definitely someone I threw in the mix for consideration.
Benny Feilhaber - Let’s say Pablo Aranguiz doesn’t pan out and Paxton Pomykal struggles, Feilhaber has proven he can pick out the right pass in this league. But at 33, he’d be a bit part player and the fact that he’s bounced around a bit and has been so vocal about his displeasure of Klinsmann, makes me think he won’t fit in well here. But, when a former USMNT #10 is available, you just gotta take a serious look and think about it.