Yesterday FC Dallas announced the signing of Abel Aguilar, giving Oscar Pareja another piece of veteran leadership for the home stretch of the 2018 campaign. Dallas started the summer transfer window by shipping off former key cornerstones to the club (Mauro Diaz and Kellyn Acosta), but quickly added pieces to further round out the team with Dominique Badji, Pablo Aranguiz, Marquinhos Pedroso, Moises Hernandez and now Aguilar.
As it stands, this is (roughly) what the current depth chart looks like:
The actual game day lineups don’t look like this and the team is fairly fluid with the formation depending on personnel, but for simplicity sake of getting every name on the board, this will suffice.
Credit where credit is due, Fernando Clavijo has built a very well balanced team. It appears that the October injury to Mauro Diaz back in 2016 that ended this team’s hopes of a treble has been in the back of his mind. Mind you, that team without Diaz was still very good but it wasn’t an MLS Cup contender like they had hoped.
With the exception of Matt Hedges, this team can withstand an injury or a bad drop in form and have someone step up without the team losing much (if any) in terms of quality. In other words, this roster has the most depth and flexibility in terms of formation. Pareja has already tinkered with Badji, Urruti, and Lamah/Barrios by moving them around all across the field when the situation best fitted.
The challenge now is integrating the new players quickly to the team. Pareja has often opted to acclimate new players to the league very slowly (two-to-three months) and that’s not including pre-season either - a luxury that the new players don’t have. Summer signings, as a general whole, have not been kind to Dallas and have not panned out. That trend seems to be over with Pedroso and Badji already finding their feet. Still just a bit too soon, though incredibly promising, to make a judgement call on Aranguiz.
Is this the most depth this team has seen? Will it matter for the final stretch of the season? Is there still a glaring hole somewhere you’d like this team to address?