Today is the day folks. While it may be a holiday for some of you, FC Dallas players officially get back to the training field later this afternoon under new head coach Luchi Gonzalez.
This year’s preseason brings some excitement and plenty of questions.
What formation makes the most sense?
For the last few years, we’ve grown pretty familiar with a 4-2-3-1 type of look under Oscar Pareja. Last year he tried to roll out a 4-3-3 and the year before that he would sometimes use a 4-4-2 when that Mauro Diaz guy was recovering from his Achilles injury.
While having some consistency is good, Luchi’s academy sides typically rolled out looks like a 3-5-2 or variations of a 4-3-3 that focused on a high press that also maintained possession at a high clip.
Is there going to be a clear ‘get-in-your-face’ type leader in this bunch?
Typically a coaching change leads to a fair amount of roster turnover in this league but FC Dallas is bringing back a lot of familiar faces in 2019. But the biggest question I have with the group that is returning is who will step up as the main rile you up type leader in the club house?
Given that the bulk of this team is under 25, there has to be a veteran willing to take that role. Looking at who is on the roster right now, I’m not sold on who that might be other than maybe Reto Ziegler. I know Matt Hedges has spent a lot of time in the last couple of seasons with the captain’s armband but his leadership style lacks that bite (at least publicaly) to hold others accountable. Or maybe it is this guy...
Will “The Cobra” be the answer up front?
FC Dallas hasn’t had a go-to scorer since the days of Blas Perez. I know Maxi Urruti would say otherwise but in all reality he wasn’t the guy that FCD truly had to rely on scoring goals.
Enter Zdenek Ondrasek, or The Cobra (which is a great nickname...I fully expect people to play off the movie Dodgeball when cheering him on this year). Is he finally the #9 we’ve been longing for? Time will certainly tell but he’s going to get thrown out there on day one like he is now that Urruti is in Montreal and Cristian Colman is on the pine recovering from a knee injury.
The 30-year old will have a lot of weight on his shoulders early to lead the attack and find ways to connect with Pablo Araguiz, Santiago Mosquera and Michael Barrios. If those four can find a similar page early, they could be one of the more underrated attacking groups in all of MLS.
How will the Designated Player situation play out?
Everyone talks about the situation in Atlanta or our west with the LA Galaxy right now in their DPs. Both teams have four in a league that you can only have three on your roster. But FC Dallas is in the same boat. Four DPs with just a few weeks before rosters have to be compliant with league rules.
So what happens now that Bryan Acosta comes on board with his DP tag? Does Colman go on the season-long IR to help offset his tag? Does the team find a way to pay down his contract with TAM (doubtful given how the league pro-rates transfer fees over the life of a contract)? Do they buy out his deal altogether? Does Carlos Gruezo find his way out of town on a transfer? Or does the club do something with Mosquera?
I think the most likely of all the possibilities is putting Colman on a IR status for the season or find some creative way to restructure his current deal. All four will likely be on the roster in some way this year.
Which Homegrown will have the biggest year?
Given how this team has a lot of HGP talent all across the field, there are a number of young guys that could easily break through. Paxton Pomykal is posed to have a lot of time with the U-20s and their potential World Cup run. The same could be said about Jesus Ferreira and Brandon Servania. Reggie Cannon could continue to see USMNT minutes as the Gold Cup will come up later this summer as well.
So who will make the biggest impact and have the biggest year? My money is on Ferreira to not only have a break-out U-20s run this summer but also to see plenty of first-team minutes this year as well.
What are some big questions that you have going into the preseason camp? Let us know below.