It feels weird to say it but MLS will be back in some form in only a matter of a couple of weeks here. With that, FC Dallas is back in full training this week, including contact drills, as they prepare for their restart tournament in Orlando early next month.
As things get underway, with more subs and an expanded roster, who on the team has the most to gain from this summer tournament? Our staff has a few ideas of who we think stands to get the most out of next month’s games.
Jason Poon - Thomas Roberts
Assuming the games are a go, and it’s still under the current condensed tournament format with five subs available, I see the opportunity for Dallas to test their depth strength and give a lot of players a chance to show off their stuff. I’m anticipating this will be a big opportunity for Roberts to get some significant playing time (maybe not in volume but at least of significant game states). Roberts has shown a lot of promise, and this will be the perfect situation for him to make a strong case for himself.
Scott Hiney - Franco Jara
Before the season, many of our biggest concerns about the incoming transfer of Franco Jara was how long it would take him to acclimate to the MLS game and whether or not he would have enough time to truly make an impact before the season was over.
Now, however, he’ll have a rare chance to both get warmed up to the team (as he’s been with them the past couple weeks without having to worry about matches) as well as the league’s style in the Orlando tournament. It remains to be seen what the “regular season” will look like after the tournament, but Jara could have a leg-up on the usual summer transfer should he choose to make the most of his FC Dallas debut — even if those fruits won’t be reaped until 2021.
Nathan Hill - Tanner Tessmann
If the schedule goes forward, there will be a decent number of rotation options. I expect a guy like Tanner to get some minutes and have a platform to show a little more of his potential. I expect an injury or two to creep in, as well as some teams holding a player or two back if they show a symptom or two. It’s going to be a strange time, if the tournament happens at all. Young guys like Tanner will have their moment in the spotlight.
Jose Carmona - Bressan
Bressan didn't come to Frisco to be a substitute. With the five substitute rule in effect, and the compact schedule, expect Bressan to receive a ton of minutes.
Bressan is so versatile, with his ability to play anywhere in the back line, that he stands to gain a ton of minutes. I know that you're thinking, that the back four starters are locked in place, and I agree. I'm just saying that Bressan has the talent to win a starting position in the back line (at the expense of a returning starter), and he'll get all the time he needs in Orlando to make his case.
Jeff Loftin - Rotation Players
Without naming anyone specifically, I’d say that all of the players who normally are on the bench or in rotation matches (USOC, etc.) are the ones with the most to gain here. Because of the condensed format and the increased substitutions, I see the guys like Roberts, Bressan, Cerrillo, Pepi, and so on to all have the biggest opportunities.
Ben Lyon - Jesus Ferreira
When the world shut down, Jesus Ferreira had not managed to be particularly influential in FC Dallas’s two matches. With Franco Jara joining the team, this might seem like a counter intuitive pick with another (high dollar) mouth to feed in the striker pecking order, but the compressed schedule and the extra substitutes should lead to plenty of opportunities for the young hybrid during the tournament. At 19, a good tournament will lead to some major buzz for the Olympic Team, the National Team, and possibly a fat transfer.
Drew Epperley - Paxton Pomykal
Like most on this list, I’m going with a young Homegrown player for this pick. For me, the HGPs have the most to gain in this tournament in terms of playing time and being able to display their skills in what should be a widely broadcasted event. Pomykal showed well at the beginning of the year (which felt like years ago at this point). Just like Ben mentioned with Jesus, Paxton could use this tournament to help get more recognition for national team calls and down the road a transfer.