As FC Dallas entered 2019, the expectations shifted in a big way under new manager Luchi Gonzalez from a team that could be in the discussion of a MLS Cup playoff run to one that just hoped to get there due to the youth project that was going on.
We’ve already discussed some surprises that came up in 2019 under Luchi, now we dive into what was some of the more disappointing aspects of this past season. Let us know what disappointed you the most in 2019 out of this club.
Ryan Scanlon - Pablo Aranguiz
Prefacing this with an admission that I was an Aranguiz defender for most of his time here. In a season that saw no double digit goal scorers, Edwin Gyasi coming over and practicing then leaving, and Colman getting injured it’s hard to choose just one disappointment. The void left by Mauro Diaz was always going to be tough to fill, but the spectacular letdown that was Pablo Aranguiz can’t be rivaled. The Chilean did literally nothing with the first team and scored a goal and a red card with the reserve team. For a player that was on MLS’ 24 under 24 list, the lofty expectations we had at the start of the season for the Chilean makes this by far the biggest disappointment in 2019 for FC Dallas fans. Wish the guy luck wherever he goes, but he has proven that he’s not our guy.
Drew Epperley - Losing in the USOC
For the most part, there wasn’t anything truly disappointing about the way things went for FC Dallas in 2019. For me, it came down to expectations and they pretty much met them by clinching a playoff spot and at least looking like a group that could compete with some of the top clubs in the league. But where things got disappointing was in the US Open Cup. Losing at home, even if that was a smaller venue at SMU, to a lower division team is just not acceptable in this day an age in MLS.
Nathan Hill - Defense
With a young number of attackers, including Paxton and Jesus, we figured the attack would be a work in progress. It definitely was over the course of the season. However, I didn’t think we would see the defense, made up of veterans, struggle in important moments throughout the season. Of course, Hedges, Ziegler, Hollingshead, Gonzalez, and Cannon had some very strong performances and have a lot to build on but also can look back with regret on some tough games where communication and decisions might be improved. Another offseason and heightened expectations should lead to a better 2020.
Jason Poon - Needing it to come down to Decision Day
On one hand, yes, FC Dallas got the job done by making the playoffs. But on the other, did Dallas really need to? Dallas started out so strong early in the season and showed that they could ball with anyone in this league, yet also showed that they could be bossed off the pitch by literally anyone too. The inconsistencies were the biggest disappointment for me.
Jeff Loftin - No 2019 Striker
Cobra’s late season surge can provide a recency bias mask that covers up the fact that FC Dallas still has little to no striker presence. There are many unknowns moving into next season, but having Cobra under contract certainly provides a bit of assurance. We hope that Cobra’s hot streak continues into next season, but hope is a dangerous thing. A long winter break can do no favor to players on a hot streak and we will have to wait four months to find out how Cobra is going to kick off the 2020 season. Any young players that are brought up to the first team will need to get used to the differences between levels of play, as well as getting up to speed with the first team. Overall I am most disappointed that the team did not get a striker who they can count on for the 2019 season. Toward the end of the season the team had someone who scored a few goals, but what about the rest of the season? I remember early season, you remember early season, Pepperidge Farm remembers.
Jose Carmona - Santiago Mosquera
In our preseason predictions, I was very high on Mosquera. I predicted he'd have a 10 goals and 10 assists type of season. That season never materialized. Mosquera is without a doubt, one of the most talented players, and one of the best pure playmakers on the roster.
There were two issues that derailed Mosquera. The first issue, and the most obvious of the two, his is health. After having played in 33 games across all competitions in 2018, Mosquera only played in 24 games across all competitions this season, playing 400 minutes less in MLS regular season games. Mosquera simply couldn't stay on the field long enough to become a difference maker. He would play several games, where it was obvious he was out of form, and by the time he rounded into form, he'd suffer an injury. Rinse and repeat. Not only did the untimely injuries cost him playing time, but he has never shown he can go the full 90. Mosquera's injuries turned the left wing position into a season long weakness for FCD.
The second issue with Mosquera, is that his play style just hasn't fit within Luchi Ball. While his skill set should allow him to thrive in Luchi's system, his lack of familiarity with the system means he is often out of position, or not in the ideal position to take advantage of opposing defenses. Mosquera's inability to stay healthy, has also made it tougher for him to integrate into that system.
Both issues can be improved on, and Mosquera is still just 24 years old, so one can still hope Mosquera doesn't disappoint next season.
Mohammad Bushnaq - Veteran Defense
I agree with the Rev above, my biggest disappointment for 2019 was the FCD backline. Coming into the year, I felt pretty good about the defense and less so about the offense. The offense had its own struggles in 2019 (see Jeff and Jose above), but the veterans struggled at times throughout the year and that was very disappointing to me. Ryan was great coming forward and Reggie had a growth year, but the CB pairing left a little to be desired.
Here's hoping that we can convert one or two academy or NTXSC defenders to getting meaningful minutes next year.
Ben Lyon - Edwin Gyasi
Only 82 minutes from a TAM player who wasn’t even hurt. Now that’s a bust. Can’t win ‘em all.