Welcome back to another edition of Big D Soccer’s Squad Rankings. It’s been almost two months since the last rankings, and boy have there been some changes. The most obvious changes are the transfers of Mauro Diaz, and Anton Nedyalkov. Concerning both players, as they are no longer on the team, they are also no longer on the Squad Rankings. We want to show you where each player stands in the roster, and not who is missing from the roster.
Back in March, when the first Squad Rankings were posted, the original idea for the Squad Rankings was never fully realized. The original idea, has always been to not only show you where a player stands within the roster, but also to show you what kind of form each player has maintained all season, and what each players current form is.
So now that we have passed the midway point in the season, it’s a good time to evolve the Squad Rankings. I’ll be posting the average player rating each player has maintained so far this season. I will also be posting each players current form, which will give you each players average player rating for their most recent games. The number of games used to determine each players current form, will likely vary from player to player, but will involve a minimum of 3 (most recent) games played.
We take a look at the matches played in MLS, and rank players based on several things: Being on the 18, subbing in, starts, minutes played, player ratings/performance (goals, assists, clean sheets, etc., etc), results (Win-Loss-Tie). I’ll also be including awards earned, such as “Man of the Match”, “Workhorse of the Week”, “MLS Team of the Week”, when determining each players rank. A player must have seen minutes in a match, or have at least been in the 18, to be part of the rankings. Friendlies and scrimmages will not be considered in the rankings.
#23 Kyle Zobeck, prior rank - 20. Kyle has been in the 18 a total of seven times, but has yet to see any minutes. Now that both players ahead of him are healthy, it’s hard to envision Zobeck getting any minutes for the remainder of the season.
#22 Jesus Ferreira, prior rank - N/A. [Season Average Player Rating - 6.2] Jesus saw his first MLS action against Chicago, after having spent some time on loan to the Tulsa Roughnecks (USL).
#21 Jordan Cano, prior rank - N/A. Cano saw action during the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, but has returned on loan to Oklahoma City Energy FC (USL).
#20 Ema Twumasi, prior rank - N/A. [Season Average Player Rating - 6.1] Ema got his first start (and MLS debut) in a 2-0 loss at Real Salt Lake. He played only the first half, after failing to generate any threat in the attack.
#19 Kris Reaves, prior rank - 20. [Season Average Player Rating - 6.7] Kris now has two starts under his belt. He looked great in his first start at center back, but looked less than stellar while playing out of position (left back) in his second start. Reaves has displayed solid defensive awareness, positioning, and recovery speed in his two appearances. He may be in line to get plenty of minutes going forward as a utility defender, who can play any position in the backline.
#18 Paxton Pomykal, prior rank - 22. [Season Average Player Rating - 6.6] Paxton hasn’t looked very good in his few appearances on the field for FCD, but that could very well be the result of Paxton being played out of position each time. Here is a player that is in real need of playing time to further his development. It’s anybody’s guess, as to whether that playing time is forthcoming.
#17 Cristian Colman, prior rank - 14. [Season Average Player Rating - 6.6] Cristian has missed the last seven MLS matches due to injury. His injury derailed the small momentum that Colman appeared to have been building. In the three MLS matches before suffering the injury, Colman was averaging a solid 6.9 player rating, and was beginning to make a strong case for more playing time. This is a player that needs to get back on the pitch fast.
#16 Jimmy Maurer, prior rank - 6. [Season Average Player Rating - 6.7] Jimmy started the season red hot, and actually lead MLS in Goal Against Average at one point. He still has an very solid 1.1 GAA, has 29 saves in MLS play, and four shutouts across all competitions. Jimmy would eventually hit a slump, and lose his starting GK gig to Jesse Gonzalez. [Current Form - 6.2 player rating/4 games] Jimmy really struggled in his last four MLS games, and didn’t look too good in his USOC start, even though he got the shutout. Despite his struggles, Jimmy still has a lower GAA, and more shutouts than Jesse Gonzalez. Maurer is still very much capable of winning the GK duties back from Jesse.
#15 Tesho Akindele, prior rank - 19. [Season Average Player Rating - 6.5] Tesho has played in eight MLS games, and only has two goals this season, but boy were they big time goals against Atlanta United FC:
[Current Form - 6.9 player rating/3 games] Tesho has given FCD some solid minutes off the bench in three of his last four matches played, and was rewarded with his first start of the season against Real Salt Lake. While he was not a factor in the RSL match, there could be plenty of minutes available for Tesho in the second half of the season.
#14 Jacori Hayes, prior rank - 4. [Season Average Player Rating - 6.8] Jacori is another player that started the season red hot. Hayes has played in 14 MLS games, starting nine of them for FCD. He has one goal, one assist, and averages a solid 85.8% passing for the season. [Current Form - 6.3 player rating/8 games] Jacori has lost significant playing time to both Kellyn Acosta, and Victor Ulloa. He has been forced to come off the bench more, and as a direct result, his form has dipped significantly. His stellar passing, which was hovering above 90% for most of the season, has dipped to under 80% in his three most recent appearances. Even with his recent drop in form, Jacori is still in the middle of a breakout season, and is one of the players that Pareja could lean on heavily down the stretch.
#13 Maynor Figueroa, prior rank - 15. [Season Average Player Rating - 6.5] Maynor has played in eight MLS matches, and started seven. The veteran has yet to score, or register an assist, and has a 75.5% passing accuracy. [Current Form - 6.5 player rating/3 games] He is nothing more than a situational player, and his consistent player rating, is achieved through inconsistency. Every time that Maynor starts, Oscar Pareja is taking a big gamble. I only say that because he either has a good game with a 7+ rating, or he pretends to be turnstile and ends with a rating closer to a 6. There is zero consistency in Maynor’s performance, as he has yet to string together two good/bad performances this season.
#12 Ryan Hollingshead, prior rank - 18. [Season Average Player Rating - 6.8] Ryan has played in 11 games this season, and has started five games for FC Dallas. He has one goal and two assists on the season, and a respectable 80.4% passing accuracy. [Current Form - 6.7 player rating/4 games] Forget Ryan’s current form, which shows a slight dip in form. Hollingshead is the best situational starter on this roster, and possibly in all of MLS. He has five starts for FCD, and in those five starts, Ryan has one goal, two assists, and an astounding 7.5 average player rating. Not once in those five starts, has Ryan’s player rating ever dipped under a 7.0 player rating, and he is coming off a solid start against the Chicago Fire. Unless there’s a lingering injury that we are all unaware of, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be starting every game.
#11 Jesse Gonzalez, prior rank - 16. [Season Average Player Rating - 7.1] Jesse has started 11 games for FCD this season, nine of those starts in MLS. Jesse has 38 saves, three shutouts, a 1.2 goal against average, has a 76% save success ratio, and FCD has seven wins in his nine MLS starts. [Current Form - 6.3 player rating/3 games] Jesse’s form has been on a downward spiral for the past month, as he is averaging a 6.6 player rating over the past six matches. Despite Jesse’s drop in form, FCD continues to grind out wins, mostly due to stellar backline play. As you can see, his form has dipped even further in his last three games, and FCD will begin to drop points if Jesse’s play doesn’t begin to improve soon.
#10 Victor Ulloa, prior rank - 13. [Season Average Player Rating - 6.6] Vic has played in 12 MLS matches for FCD, starting 10 of them. He has one assist, no goals, and 80.4 passing accuracy. As you can see from his rating, Vic is one of the most consistent performers for FCD. [Current Form - 6.8 player rating/4 games] Ulloa has started to solidify his starting position, as he has elevated his game recently, and his current 6.8 player rating includes a tired looking performance against RSL that saw him struggle to a season low 67.7% passing accuracy. The RSL game aside, he is becoming more of a difference maker for FCD. Vic has 88% passing accuracy in six of the last seven games he’s played, helping to improve FCD’s ability to maintain possession of the ball lately, something that FCD isn’t exactly known for.
#9 Santiago Mosquera, prior rank - 9. [Season Average Player Rating - 6.6] Santi has played in 18 matches, starting 10 matches for FCD. He has one goal, four assists, has averaged two shot attempts per game, and has 72% passing accuracy. [Current Form - 6.5 player rating/4 games] Nobody stands to game more from the Mauro Diaz transfer, than Mosquera. He has a full half season under his belt, that has seen him struggle to be consistent on the field, and struggle to get starts. Now that Mauro is gone, more will be expected from Santi, and his last start against Chicago, hints that Santi may be ready to elevate his game.
#8 Kellyn Acosta, prior rank - 17. [Season Average Player Rating - 6.3] Kellyn has played 12 matches, starting eight game for FCD. He has one goal, two assists, and 82.5% passing accuracy. [Current Form - 6.3 player rating/4 games] Nobody has had a more disappointing season than Acosta, who has struggled to regain his game shape and form throughout the season. Last season, Kellyn looked like a superstar in the making to begin the season, only to have injury derail him. Now healthy, he has looked nothing like a future superstar, that is, until last week:
Hopefully last week is a turning point for Acosta, and he becomes the difference maker that FC Dallas desperately needs. Judging by the weekly MLS Power Rankings, FC Dallas is seen as nothing more than a pretender, but an in form Acosta could alter that point of view.
#7 Michael Barrios, prior rank - 10. [Season Average Player Rating - 6.5] Michael has played in 19 matches, and started 14 games for FCD. Michael has no goal, one assist, 11 shots on goal (27 shot attempts), and 76.7% passing accuracy. [Current Form - 6.3 player rating/4 games] Michael continues to be one of the weakest starters on the field for FCD. While he continues to be a match-up nightmare for opponents, due to his dizzying speed, he has very little to show for it. At this point, Michael is nothing more than a disruptive player, who is used to keep the opposing teams from committing too many players forward.
#6 Roland Lamah, prior rank - 5. [Season Average Player Rating - 7.0] Roland has played in 19 matches, and started 14 games for FCD. Roland leads FCD in scoring with seven goals, and now that Diaz is gone, he also leads FCD with four assists. Roland has been the MVP for FCD in the first half of the season. [Current Form - 6.5 player rating/9 games] Roland has come back down to earth from his early MVP form, and has only two goals and no assists in his last nine games played. Despite his drop in form, Roland has managed to curtail his in-game-disappearing acts that plagued him most of last season. It also helps that Lamah is one of the beast aerial threats for FCD, trailing only Colman and Hedges in that category. Lamah’s form looks to have taken a dip, mostly due to FCD consistently moving Lamah between three different positions (CAM, LM, and F). Hopefully FCD can find a positional home for Lamah soon, so he can go about finding his lost form.
#5 Reto Ziegler, prior rank - 7. [Season Average Player Rating - 6.6] Reto has started 17 MLS matches for FCD. He has been a great signing for FCD, helping the defense become one of the best in MLS. Reto is best known for his set pieces (three goals), and his willingness to sacrifice his body on defense (team leading 1.1 blocks per game). Reto also has a pair of red cards. [Current Form - 7.0 player rating/3 games] Reto has two goals in his last three starts, and boy are they a thing of beauty:
Reto has claimed the set piece taking duties, and looks to have made FCD a real threat on set pieces moving forward.
#4 Maxi Urruti, prior rank - 1. [Season Average Player Rating - 7.1] Maxi has played in 18 matches for FCD, and has started 16 games for FCD. Maxi is second on the team with six goals, and has two assists. A consistent threat in the attack for FCD, Urruti has averaged four shot attempts per game, with 77.7% passing accuracy. [Current Form - 7.0 player rating/3 games] Not to alarm anyone, but even though he has maintained his form throughout the season, his drop in the squad rankings has to do with the fact that he is in the midst of a seven game scoreless run. Urruti also only has one assist in that seven game time span. Stretches like this one, are the reason that many fans are still not convinced that Urruti is the answer up top for FCD.
#3 Carlos Gruezo, prior rank - 11. [Season Average Player Rating - 6.5] Carlos has played in 18 matches, and started 15 games for FCD. He has two goals, and 83.9% passing. [Current Form - 7.0 player rating/4 games] Carlos struggled for the better part of this season, but looks to have turned a corner, and is coming off a Man of the Match performance against the Chicago Fire:
El mediocampista Carlos Gruezo fue el otro ecuatoriano que marcó este fin de semana en la MLS. Lo hizo en la victoria de su equipo el FC Dallas. https://t.co/LazVdZfMJQ— Rogelio Arosemena (@Rarosemena11) July 15, 2018
Should Carlos maintain his current form going forward, it’s not hard to see a call-up back to the Ecuador National team being in his near future.
#2 Matt Hedges, prior rank - 3. [Season Average Player Rating - 6.9] Matt has 18 starts for FCD. Matt was forced to miss one game due to yellow card accumulation (six yellows on the season), leads the team with five clearances per game, leads the team in aerials won with three aerials per game, leads the team in interceptions with two interceptions per game, is second on the team with 1 blocked shot per game, and has 84% passing accuracy. [Current Form - 7.2 player rating/5 games] People forget that Hedges struggled early in the season, and was very slow to regain his form. Fast forward to his current run of games, and Hedges has made himself a candidate for MLS Defensive Player of the Year, with only LAFCs Ciman likely ahead of him at this point. With plenty of season left to play, should Matt continue on his current trajectory, it will be his name atop that list at the end of the season.
#1 Reggie Cannon, prior rank - 2. [Season Average Player Rating - 6.8] Reggie has started all 19 MLS games for FCD, and all other games in other competitions. Reggie leads the team in minutes played, he leads the team in passing accuracy with 85.9%, leads the team in tackles with three tackles per game, is second on the team in interceptions with 1.6 interceptions per game, and averages twp clearances per game. [Current Form - 6.5 player rating/4 games] In a year full of breakout performers, no one has stood out more than Cannon. He has been the Iron Man of this team, as he is the only player to start every game across all competitions for FCD. His current dip in form could be attributed to tired legs, but don’t expect to see him get rest any time soon. Not because FCD doesn’t have anyone to back him up, but because Reggie has been given the opportunity to rest on several occasions, and has turned them down each time. Reggie’s drop in form may soon cost him the top spot, but even so, he looks like a USMNT call-up waiting to happen.