Is 2018 going to be the year of Reggie Cannon?
Back in December of 2016, FC Dallas welcomed home one of their exciting young players, an academy product who also spent a year at UCLA gaining some needed seasoning. Cannon spent 2017 mostly on the bench, making just a single appearance in MLS and a couple of appearances in US Open Cup play. As FC Dallas struggled down the stretch of 2017, many fans hoped that he might get more minutes on the field, an injection of youth and energy. It didn’t happen, but 2018 is different. There is no veteran RB loanee to swallow up his minutes this time. The starting spot is down to Ryan Hollingshead or Reggie, and I can’t imagine a scenario where Reggie doesn’t at least split significant minutes with Hollingshead as he adjusts and steps into MLS.
This is yet another exciting reason to follow FC Dallas this season, an opportunity to get a hard look at some young dynamic players who have a chance to earn a place in the US Men’s National Team.
Around the internet, the buzz is growing.
FC Dallas’ Carter Baum has a great Facebook Live interview with Reggie, and you quickly get a sense of this kid’s soccer IQ.
Reggie Cannon on preseason + Answering your questions!
Carter Baum - FCD and Reggie Cannon talk preseason training and more! Leave your questions in the comments!Posted by FC Dallas on Wednesday, January 31, 2018
American Soccer Now has a nice write up about Reggie’s transition and development for this moment:
“Everyone has been telling me you’re the right back, but I just try to ignore it because at the end of the day I have to go out there and prove that I can play against the best teams and players in the league. I have to earn the spot now and that’s my mindset going into the preseason,” said Cannon.
Scuffed (@zlebmada) collected an incredible collection of GIFs from FC Dallas’ friendly against Santa Tecla to give you an idea of a youngster who certainly has a learning curve ahead of him but looks poised to make a huge impact for the squad. Click below to see the whole thread.
Reggie Cannon, 19, the presumptive starting right back for F.C. Dallas, is one of the few under-20 Americans likely to get minutes in MLS this season. Tried to learn about his game from last night’s friendly w/ Santa Tecla. Got some workmanlike GIFs for the diehards out there.— Scuffed (@zlebmada) February 8, 2018
With all that anticipation, let’s ask the hard question though - what can we expect from Reggie Cannon as he grabs more starting minutes and a bigger role in this team? What is reasonable, considering there will be ups and downs as he adjusts to the speed and physicality of Major League Soccer?
One player I can think of that followed a somewhat similar path is Keegan Rosenberry, right back for the Philadelphia Union. Like Cannon, Keegan was a Union academy product who went to college for a time of seasoning. Unlike Reggie, Keegan had to be drafted by Philly, a confusing situation for sure. In 2016, his first year with the Union, Rosenberry was excellent - 34 appearances, 2 goals, and 2 assists. His consistency and level of play earned both an MLS All-Star appearance and his first call-up to the USMNT, just about the perfect season for a rookie making their way to a bigger stage.
Unfortunately, Rosenberry slumped in 2017, dealing with inconsistent play and injuries and some off the field issues. He ended 2017 with 11 appearances and just 1 assist, missing the last game for a tweet expressing his frustration with his situation. In those two years, Rosenberry gives us a glimpse of the challenge of not just breaking through and contributing but discovering a sense of consistency as a professional. Kind of like the leadership adage, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
Keegan’s experience is near a best case scenario for Reggie, but it’s probably not what fans should expect. Sure, Reggie could dominate so well that he gets called up to the senior men’s team, but most fans would be fine with a slower curve and climb. For one thing, Reggie is younger than Keegan as he begins his journey. There will be bumps along the way. After last season, Oscar Pareja is likely going to rotate players to keep his roster fresh and avoid the mental and physical collapse that led to FC Dallas’ spiral out of playoff contention.
On the other hand though, Reggie is probably more talented than Keegan, and if the team goes with a 3-5-2, his chance for assists and goals are going to be a heck of a lot higher. FC Dallas is simply a better team than Philadelphia (no offense, Union fans). If Pareja rotates him regularly, Cannon might avoid a tough sophomore season.
(And as a side note, while I view Reggie Cannon as essentially a rookie with only one minute of MLS action up to this point, it’s important to recognize that he is not technically a rookie because of that minute of action. Rules are rules, I guess.)
I’m trying to both stoke our excitement for Reggie and temper our expectations. I’d be happy with 18-20 games, 4-5 assists, and 1-2 goals over the course of the season, an incredible start for a youngster that will bode well for an even better 2019. Mixed in to that run though will be some tough games when things don’t go his way, maybe a red card or two and a few early 2nd half substitutions. Those scuff marks will be part of the overall learning curve in a stellar 2018 season.
Regardless, 2018 is going to be a fun one for Reggie and for fans.
- What do you think we should expect from Reggie Cannon in 2018?
- Is there another young RB that might more closely mirror what to expect from Reggie’s upcoming season?