FC Dallas is about a month and a half into the new season here. We’ve seen just enough out of this group to know that there are some good surprises and some not-so-good surprises.
Today our staff offers up who they have been shocked by the most so far this season, either good or bad. Let us know who has been your biggest surprise this season in the comments below.
Etan Cohn - Lamah
I expected Roland Lamah to NOT play a big role this year for FC Dallas. I did not expect him to improve a whole lot from last year to this year, and FC Dallas appeared to have gotten players to fill in his spot. FCD payed big money for Mosquera, and used first round draft picks on Atuahene and Twumasi. FCD also was experimenting with Pomykal on the wing, and kept Reid with the club.
Instead, Lamah has earned his starting spot, and has an impressive 4 goals and 2 assists in 5 games.
Nathan Hill - Maxi Urruti
So far - and I know it’s early, so get off my back - Maxi Urruti has been a disappointment. Was I expecting him to become another player or take his game to the next level? Of course, not, but I anticipated him signing a new deal, putting last season’s disappointment behind him, and becoming this squad’s focal point. His work rate is probably the highest on this team. Instead, he’s been a let down, not quite in sync with his teammates and frankly trying to do too much. Spinning and taking wild shots at goal from outside the box is not what FC Dallas is likely banking on. That we are talking about Colman starting more is a testament to how things haven’t worked with Urruti. Can it be fixed? I hope so, but right now, it’s been below par for the veteran.
Scott Hiney - Jacori Hayes
If you had told me a month into the FC Dallas season the team would be without Kellyn Acosta yet the midfield wouldn’t have missed a beat, I would’ve figured either Victor Ulloa had really stepped up in his presence or Carlos Gruezo’s offensive game had seriously developed.
Enter Jacori Hayes, the other young midfield prospect not named Paxi. Hayes has been so wonderfully delightful he deserves two adjectives. He’s growing before our eyes and that development was encapsulated over the weekend when he netted the game-winner away from home, the first of his career. Having depth in central midfield is such a powerful key and the way Hayes’ offensive abilities complement Ulloa’s and Greuzo’s defensive ones is massive – especially as it allows the squad to function offensively even when Mauro Diaz isn’t on the pitch. Color me all-in on the kid.
Jose Carmona - Jimmy Maurer
Jimmy is currently the best Goalkeeper in MLS, and anchors the #1 Defense in MLS, for one of only two undefeated teams in MLS. Jimmy has achieved this despite a completely revamped backline, featuring only one returning starter from last season (Hedges), a right back who is practically a rookie (Cannon), and a starting left back (Nedyalkov) who can't seem to stay on the field. The backline has been shaky most of the season, and the offense can't score consistently, yet nobody has been able to get past FCDs last line of defense.
Here is a career second division player, who was an unheralded signing, despite all his NASL trophies. A player who has displayed superb positioning, excellent reflexes, plus a calmness and confidence that comes from winning titles, even if those titles are from a lower division. I can't help but think, that Jimmy isn't done adding to his trophy case.
Cody Gammond - Lamah
Half the team has surprised this season, which makes it hard to pick one player in particular. Hayes and Maurer have been revelations while guys like Urruti, Gruezo, and Barrios have been poor.
For me the real surprise is Roland Lamah. I went into the season expecting the same performances as last year, and for him to quickly be superseded by Mosquera. Instead, he is the driving force of this offense with three goals and two assists. He has been creative, fast, and in good positions most of the time. His crossing has been excellent. He looks like a player worth his cap hit, and maybe someone capable of a 15+ goal season. Who said that before the start of the season? Certainly not me.
Jeff Loftin - Mauro Diaz
Frankly I did not expect him to return to this high of quality at this juncture. I expected him to struggle to return and come back closer to form mid-summer. I am pleasantly surprised by his play, and glad that his minutes are being somewhat monitored. Here’s hoping that he keeps his form and does not regress at all. Achilles injuries do not tend to be kind in terms of longevity, but I am sure hoping that Mauro is the exception and not the norm.