2019 is sure to go down as a disappointment for Jacori Hayes, and not just because of the Game of Thrones finale. Hayes began the season as a contender for one of the starting midfield spots, but the emergence of Brandon Servania and Edwin Cerrillo as well as the addition of Bryan Acosta relegated Hayes to the bench. He featured mostly as a late game defensive sub and never seemed wholly comfortable in Luchi’s system.
Despite lots of depth in the midfield, Jacori played in a career high 19 games (starting eight). However, before the season he appeared on a trajectory to compete for a starting spot. In his new role as a sub under a new coach, he maintained his efficient passing percentage (86.4% in 2019, 85.9% in 2018), but his tackles per game and interceptions per game both decreased (tackles from 2.7 to 1.4; interceptions from 1.4 to 0.5). He did record two assists which puts him level with Santiago Mosquera.
Game that best sums up Jacori
The 2-2 draw at San Jose on June 8th was part of a string of good results for Dallas. International call-ups forced Luchi Gonzalez to run out Hayes and he made a strong case for being a starter. While he did notch an (unimpressive) assist, his biggest contribution was his energetic positioning. There aren’t many guys on the team with an engine like Hayes and he’s got a knack for popping up all over the field, both offensively and defensively.
Perhaps under Oscar Pareja, Hayes would be less expendable, but Luchi has made it clear that he’s a sub at best for FC Dallas. He’s good enough to be taking the field regularly in MLS, so he has trade value within the league. He could stay here and fight and, best case scenario, offer a Ulloa-like presence off the bench or find a new home where he has a better shot at starting.