After a frustrating end to the season followed by a dismal playoff performance, FC Dallas faced a monumental offseason with key questions about roster makeup and direction hanging over the club. Even though we fans knew it was coming, the number of seismic moves left us stunned. Yes, we expected guys like Roland Lamah and Tesho Akindele to be on their way out, but did we have an inkling that club legend Oscar Pareja would jump at an opportunity to start a new chapter in his coaching career?
It sort of felt like Dan Hunt and company invited Marie Kondo in to clear out the clutter and start fresh.
Now in 2019, we might take stock and ask - which departure will this team miss the most in the coming slog and grind of the new season?
- Maxi Urruti was traded to Montreal and now has signed a contract extension. While he may not have tallied up the goals in raw abundance, he was resilient, hard-working, and (mostly) drama free. Will the team pine for this locker room leader and source of endless energy that helped FC Dallas to their second Open Cup championship and first Supporters’ Shield?
- Victor Ulloa was another difficult face to go, joining expansion side FCC Cincinnati. Even for FC Dallas, he was under-appreciated for his quiet, steady work in the middle of the field and the way he won back his starting job time and time again. Will the team miss one of their perennial workhorses?
- Tesho Akindele had a stellar rookie campaign and then found niches throughout the past few seasons to contribute some big goals. His overall play is easily characterized as inconsistent, to say the least. Will this squad, however, miss those few big goals he could provide?
- Roland Lamah certainly had a resume as a difference maker and looked the part of a superstar in flashes through a few hat tricks and key goals. What held him back from putting it all together? Will a change in formation and setting unlock his dominance in MLS? And what will FC Dallas do when he scores a hat trick against us?
- Maynor Figueroa wasn’t necessarily a roster regular last season, but he was a veteran who offered flexibility and depth for a young team. He always had his moments, even in relief, and a team can never have enough solid veteran depth. Now, he's joined up with Houston to prolong his career for another year. Will FC Dallas miss that depth when youngsters struggle and injuries plague the roster?
- Biggest and most important, Oscar Pareja is gone. Papi leaves a void which is hard to fill. I intentionally chose the image at the top of this article, because while I have a hunch that Lamah is going to do some damage against FC Dallas this season just to mess with his haters, we will look back at key moments and recognize anew what a gifted coach Pareja is. New head coach Luchi Gonzalez will do his part to wipe away those memories with a refreshing ethic and confidence that is exciting, but we will look back and recognize that Papi will never truly be replaced.
I turn the question to you now: Who do you think FC Dallas will miss the most in 2019?
Victor Ulloa, Tesho Akindele, Maxi Urruti, and Roland Lamah will each face their former team only one time this season, as they all have gone to eastern conference foes. Those games could up being critical or forgettable excursions. Of them all, I predict that Roland Lamah could do something flashy to come back and bite the squad that introduced him to this league. Maynor Figueroa, in all likelihood, won’t see action against his former teammates, so I’m not too worried about that matchup. But maybe I’m wrong, and you are right.
Share your thoughts below!