Every year there are new faces that bring out some new competition with FC Dallas’ roster. This year is no different as new head coach Luchi Gonzalez has some new faces that will make his depth chart intriguing to watch unfold over the next few weeks. But he also has some familiar faces that are looking to break through this season as well.
Here are some of the key roster battles that I have an eye on during this preseason.
Bressan vs Reto Ziegler/Matt Hedges
The new Brazilian can play nearly anywhere on the back line, which is a good problem to have if you are Gonzalez. The combo of Ziegler and Hedges performed really well for the majority of 2018 but towards the end of the year there were noticeable issues in the back that caused some leaky goals. Bressan is going to be looking to make a name for himself and will likely push these two for a starting spot should Gonzalez opt to play him in the middle instead of on the wings over Marquinhos Pedroso (which could be another battle in itself to watch).
Dominque Badji vs Zdenek Ondrasek
With Cristian Colman out for the next few months and Maxi Urruti officially gone to Montreal, the striker spot comes down to these two guys. Badji, an experienced MLS forward that can be quite serviceable if given the chance. On the other end you have Ondrasek or The Cobra looking to get his footing here in MLS. My money is all on who can connect best with guys like Michael Barrios and Santiago Mosquera here in preseason. Badji has the edge there but Ondrasek is no slouch when it comes to scoring.
Jimmy Maurer vs Jesse Gonzalez
This was a battle last season and in my mind it should be one again this year. Maurer got plenty of starts early in the year when Gonzalez was hurt but we all know what Gonzalez is capable of between the pipes. In my mind, this is a make or break year for him as in some ways it feels like he has reached his full potential as a MLS keeper.
Jacori Hayes vs Brandon Servania
This may not be for a starting role early on but more as in a who comes off the bench first for someone like Carlos Gruezo or Bryan Acosta. Hayes was arguably the best FC Dallas player in the first third of last season but once he lost his starting role he struggled to regain it. Servania is another young HGP that is looking to bust out this season after a solid USL campaign in 2018 and some good youth national team minutes.
Paxton Pomykal vs Pablo Aranguiz
Is it finally going to be Paxton’s year? On the same token, are we finally going to get what we expected out of Aranguiz? In some ways I want this to be the key battle of the preseason, as both players have so much to gain by landing that starting attacking midfielder role with this group.
What are some other battles that you have your eye on? Let us know below.