The preseason continues to quickly go by here as FC Dallas will host a pair of friendlies today against local side NTX Rayados and USL-C side Oklahoma City Energy FC.
As the teams get set to square off later today, our staff looks at what they hope to see out of the first games in 2020.
Scott Hiney — A glimpse of the newcomers
It’s obviously one of the biggest reasons fans tune into preseason scrimmages anyway, but the chance to see the club’s newest faces — both from signings and the draft — is always a cause for excitement and optimism.
We know this year’s rookie class has already seen some competitive action when FC Dallas held an internal scrimmage this past Saturday, but the new signings still haven’t seen any competitive action, as Fafa Picault sat out of the weekend scrimmage with a knock, and we aren’t even sure yet if Thiago Santos is with the team yet — something we’ll no-doubt be updated on during this week’s media availabilities.
SuperDraft pick Manuel Ferriol made a strong debut in the scrimmage, according to FCDallas.com, so the opportunity to possibly see him in action is intriguing, as is looking into how the club’s newest homegrown signing, Eddie Munjoma, is fairing in his first professional season.
Jason Poon - Healthy Paxton(?)
Not quite sure what his status is, and how Paxton is progressing since being released from USMNT camp... but, like last year, I’m still banking that this team goes where Pomykal goes. Pomykal healthy = MLS Cup contenders.
Ben Lyon - One of the 2017 #1’s making the leap
The team as currently constructed is pretty deep at every position on the field with the exception of a natural backup for Michael Barrios. Barrios has been the most underrated player in MLS over the last few seasons, and he’s also only missed two games in the last three years (one due to yellow card accumulation) which speaks volumes about his durability.
This is really impressive because of his physical style and diminutive stature, but that seems like a risky bet as Mickey enters his age 29 season. In all likelihood, Luchi’s going to need one of his other natural wingers to step up. Unfortunately, we’ve only gotten brief teases of Ema Twumasi and Francis Atuahene since they were drafted with early picks in 2017; Twumasi has blazing speed and showed promise at Austin last year. Atuahene again struggled with injuries, but he did show off on his 2nd ever touch in an MLS match.
One or both could be called on this year, so I’d love for one of them to breakout in preseason. They’re both in their early 20s, but they’re also both in their last guaranteed season of their respective Generation Adidas deals. It’s now or never for these guys with Dallas.
Jose Carmona - Breakout players
I'm most excited to get a look at the returning players, and see which of them looks likely to breakout.
Last season we had Ryan Hollingshead take the left back spot, and we witnessed him elevating his game to the point of being named season MVP.
So far, I'm hearing Santi has been great, but I want to see for myself.
Drew Epperley - The next step in Luchi-Ball
We know Luchi Gonzalez will continue to tinker and evolve his tactics here as he gets more comfortable being a first team manager. As excited as I am for seeing the new faces along with the returning ones, I really am eager to see how much Luchi’s tactics evolve in year two. The moves made this offseason suggest to me that we’ll see a lot more pressing up the field to go along with the possession. I’m all for it.