With 17 games in the books, we’re at the midway point in our season. And with that, it is high time we look at who we think is FC Dallas’ midseason Most Valuable Player in 2019.
Below is what our staff is thinking right now for this honor, let us know below in the comments who your MVP is too.
Ben Lyon- It’s still your top scorer.
Ok, so maybe that isn’t really true, but that’s usually where the plaudits go. Paxton Pomykal has been great, but the scoring end product hasn’t been there. Your joint leading goal scorers at this point are Jesus Ferreira and Dominique Badji. With four goals each halfway through the season, I’ll have to pass there, too.
That leaves one obvious choice; Michael Barrios is your midseason MVP. With 2 goals and 6 assists, he’s been FC Dallas’s most productive player when it comes to scoring or setting up his teammates. If he keeps his pace, he’ll match his production in 2017 and do so while missing minimal time- being available, reliable, and durable also helps his case. He’s also hit those numbers without taking corners for most of the season, and it seems like he’s developed to plus-level on his deliveries now. Seriously, let’s have him take corners from now on and have Acosta/Servania outside the box for the occasional scorcher off a clearance. Barrios could be on track to deliver his best season yet.
Nathan Hill - Paxton Pomykal
I disagree with Ben. Sure, Michael Barrios has been his useful and sometimes electric self, and other players have stepped up in various ways (especially Ryan Hollingshead and Jesus Ferreira). But it’s been Paxton who has made the Luchi era begin with a bang. When he has been away or hurt, FC Dallas has suffered.
Look at the most recent game. Paxton returns and terrorizes Toronto and suddenly guys like Badji are scoring braces. So, while his stats may not look like an MVP, his impact on the team from game one tell the fuller story. And MVPs are the kind of players who get called up for the nation to play in big tournaments.
Where Paxton goes, so goes this team in the playoff hunt. He is most VALUABLE after all.
Jeff Loftin - Jesse Gonzalez
The unsung hero among the other homegrown players, Jesse has been very good for most of the season. If he continues to grow and improve (especially on crosses and driven balls into the box), he will get himself firmly back into the discussion for the USMNT. Jesse’s ability to communicate with the defenders and distribute the ball (man is he good at this) is priceless with the way that Luchi wants the team to play. If this team is going to have any hope of going on a run later this season then Jesse will have to be better than good, he’ll have to be great. This team would still be in the USOC had he played against New Mexico, but rest is definitely important, so I won’t complain about that too much. Jesse is the midseason MVP and if he keeps using those long limbs to keep the ball out of the net then the young and speedy attackers can help the team win by scoring 1 or 2 goals. Remember Jesse, because if he keeps playing well then the field players aren’t the only ones who will have teams in Europe sniffing around.
Drew Epperley - Paxton Pomykal
As much as I would have liked to have given this to Ryan Hollingshead for playing all the positions he has played this year. Or to Michael Barrios for his strong play on the wings at times. Or even to a Jesse Gonzalez or Matt Hedges for their play in the defense. It continues to come back to Paxton Pomykal for me.
The label is most valuable, and like Nathan mentions above, Paxton has shown that when he is there, the attack looks drastically different than when he is out injured or on international duty.
Jose Carmona - Michael Barrios
I have to agree with Ben. While I see that FCD looks lost in the attack without Pomykal, the team looks completely toothless in the attack without Barrios.
Whether he's having a good or bad day, opponents have respect and account for Barrios and his game breaking capabilities. FCD is simply far easier to defend, when Barrios is not on the field.