We are in that beginning stretch of the Major League Soccer offseason which can feel a little dull. For starters, FC Dallas is going into 2020 with 27 roster spots accounted for, meaning we aren’t generally expecting Dan Hunt and company to be major players in the transfer market. Maybe that’s exciting, since this team is stocked with up and coming talent who are poised for breakthroughs. But I get that it isn’t so exciting when we fans long for some rumors and drama to help these weeks pass quickly.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t questions we are asking and wondering.
Coach Luchi Gonzalez can look back at a reasonably successful first year as a MLS head coach. He learned some hard lessons and got a feel for the limitations of this roster and the difficult process it is to bring in foreign guys and get them to adjust. While I know there are naysayers out there, this team showed enough bright spots to keep us optimistic that Luchi will keep learning and this team will only get stronger. The Luchi Ball project continues, and that makes this offseason slower but pregnant with possibilities.
Here are my questions I’m looking to see answered:
What will Dan Hunt and company do about the left wing?
The left wing remains the biggest hole on this roster. Santiago Mosquera is here, at least for now, and can be easily penciled in as a starter on the left wing. However, Santi hasn’t exactly lit the league on fire and doesn’t look like he is the kind of player to go a full 90. Injuries seem to have limited his potential. There are youngsters from North Texas SC who might fit the bill, but that’s a big ask if FCD staff deems them ready to take the next step. Dominique Badji spent a lot of time there but couldn’t really do what Luchi asked. It’s no surprise then that FC Dallas may be finishing negotiations with veteran Ligue 1 winger Romain Philippoteaux. He seems like a “Reto Ziegler type” signing, a veteran with oodles of experience who can compete from the get go and outright upgrade that position on the field. Until that deal is done, though, this is one of the big questions of the offseason.
Who is ready to step up from North Texas SC?
To say North Texas SC dominated in its first year of existence... is an understatement. They were clearly more talented and simply outclassed most of their opponents. Was this case of weak competition? Or is it that NTSC have players ready to step up to MLS? And if so, who? Which player is ready to sign on the dotted line? I don’t even know where to begin here, because there are plenty of guys that I’d love to see get minutes or be in competition for spots. Arturo Rodriguez is just one kid who might help the senior team week in and out. However, I do get that it can be a nightmare to sign a bunch of youngsters and have them languish. Is FC Dallas going to sign a bevvy of youngsters and then loan them back to North Texas SC or find a place in USL Championship for them to go? How confident are the coaching staff in identifying those guys ready to take the next step?
Who will be leaving Frisco?
While this roster may be mostly complete, we anticipate some players saying goodbye to MLS. Pablo Aranguiz is clearly a youngster who just didn’t gel here. Dominique Badji may remain as a great squad guy who can back up Cobra, or he may get snatched away by MLS team needing a striker with his skills.
We’ve wondered if expansion teams or others are willing to make offers for Jacori Hayes, who certainly still has some upside, but is going to face stiffer and stiffer competition in the midfield for limited minutes.
Will Reggie Cannon get sold to Europe? Will there be a surprise move before all is said and done?
How will FC Dallas market itself?
Fans like to poke fun and complain about FC Dallas’ marketing struggles. It is frustrating when this team can play good soccer and has plenty of compelling young local players in a massive market. We ask this question every year. Will this be the offseason that FCD finally makes some inroads or settles on some tactics that will bear fruit in their larger DFW area? I do have a hunch that North Texas SC playing games in Arlington will allow the franchise to think creatively about its future. If crowds show up for those games, expect FC Dallas to think about playing a game or two at more central venues in the future.
- What questions do you have for FC Dallas during this offseason?
- Who moves do you expect FC Dallas to make?