The preseason campaign is beginning to come to a close here as FC Dallas has one more preseason game later this week in Florida against MLS competition (hello there Inter Miami CF!).
So far this preseason we’ve seen a bit of roster movement, some travel for the club and plenty of other things that have made our team go into some rapid discussions. Here is what has stood out the most to us this preseason.
Let us know what has stood out the most to you below in our comments section.
Nathan Hill - Addition by Subtraction
Mostly, I think this preseason has stood out for FC Dallas’ belief in sticking to its core group of homegrown and veterans and looking for the team to improve with a less is more strategy. Yes, there have been some solid additions over the course of the offseason. I believe that Thiago Santos and Franco Jara are pretty big signings for this club and will bring a significant boost. On the other hand, FC Dallas traded, loaned, or released a host of other guys, including veterans like Dominique Badji and Cristian Colman and some promising North Texas Soccer Club players. I’m less expectant of newcomers like Fafa Picault, Nkosi Burgess, and Eddie Munjoma. They may contribute in their own ways, but it shows the belief and trust that the FCD coaching staff have in who is on the roster and who is ready for the next step.
We’ve seen that on display in preseason. In years past, I watched almost every preseason match to see the new faces and their potential, but this year, we know how this team is going to play. We've already seen the potential. Preseason is an opportunity to get guys ready for the long haul, not to hope one player can unlock FCD’s offense. This is the new approach. It’s kind of refreshing.
Jason Poon - Same as above
Dominique Badji was the only player that eclipsed 1000 minutes in 2019 that will not be returning in 2020. That’s a signal to me that Luchi Gonzalez likes who he has, what’s he’s seen and is ready to ride or die primarily with this group.
What I’m most curious about, as I’m sure most FCD fans are, is how the striker situation will play out once Franco Jara arrives this summer. That was a pretty ballsy move by Dallas, and could very well be the missing link to turning this squad into an MLS Cup contender.
Mohammad Bushnaq - The Big Splash Forward
FC Dallas finally did it. They splashed the cash (albeit salary only) on a forward. This team desperately needed some goal-scoring and I was quite surprised that they made a move for a player as high-profile as Jara. The willingness to maintain the core and supplement a key area was something that resonated with me as the principle this team will adhere to moving forward. We've seen a different approach to off-seasons in years past but it finally seems like Andre Zanotta and Co. have found this organization's identity. Definitely a small sample size, but let's wait and see if this preseason is an indication of many to come as the new model for FC Dallas.
Ben Lyon - Key injuries that won’t hamstring the team?
As of this past weekend, FC Dallas were down 3 central midfielders with international appearances in the last year. Factor in Matt Hedges, another player with international experience, and it seems like a recipe for an absolute freak out. Except that...it isn’t.
FCD haven’t looked like a juggernaut this preseason, but they haven’t looked all that bad either despite the missing weapons. In the event Hedges and Paxton Pomykal aren’t full steam ahead by Leap Day, I think the team will still be fine for their opener. You can say the team is ‘lucky’ that most of their injuries came from a position group with the best depth, and that’s true to an extent. That said, it appears that the depth in general for the club is a major strength and should lead to a better than projected performance (better than the ‘expert’ consensus, at least). Since this depth will be tested in a month’s time with Olympic qualifying, it may just work out that the injuries were a blessing in disguise.
Drew Epperley - Being away from home
I think the roster construction, or really, addition by subtraction like others have said is easy to dive into here. But for me, I have enjoyed seeing this club being away from Frisco for the preseason campaign. Not only does the travel get the players ready for the grind that is a MLS season, but it also builds up that chemistry that you can only get away from home.
There is no mistake that FC Dallas struggled to get results outside of Frisco last year, so seeing the club schedule as much as they did, away from home like they did this preseason was a smart move. Let’s just hope the players can find a way to pick up more results this season because of it.