The word on the street is that Reggie Cannon is on his way out, heading east to play somewhere in Europe. Rumors have him landing anywhere from England, France, or Portugal, and there have been past rumblings about Belgium and a distant thread or two linking him to a team in Germany. Until the dust settles and the signature is signed, we are in waiting mode. Was this past Sunday night his last game in a FC Dallas kit? Or will he suit up again on Friday?
We’ll wait and see.
So who on FC Dallas’ roster might slot in to fill his role as he departs?
The Natural Candidates
Ryan Hollingshead: Ryan is a roster mainstay, a good teammate, and a solid MLS player. He has singlehandedly won over the left back spot in recent years, despite the fact that he is right-footed. If you want someone with experience and feel like he would limit a drop off in ability in the short term, it makes sense to move him out of his left back role and give him the starting spot. You’ll have experience, leadership, and attacking sensibilities there and won’t feel Reggie’s absence immediately.
But... this move would create uncertainty at the left back spot, a position which is fairly limited right now for the team. John Nelson filled in there on Sunday night as Hollingshead was pulled away due to a family emergency, and he was serviceable. I know he is still young and could grow into the position, but at the moment, he looks more like roster depth for the position. Reto Ziegler could also take that spot, but that leaves the team with less CB depth and also limits some attacking movement on the left side as Reto doesn’t necessarily give you tons of speed. A homegrown could also slot in, but it would be trial by fire.
Ultimately, I don’t think this is a great option, but it is an option.
Bressan: Another veteran option, Bressan got the start on Wednesday night and probably didn’t do himself many favors from the performance. Sure, the whole team struggled, so it is hard to place a lot of burden on the Brazilian. He has filled in at right back before and certainly provides some solid defensive skill there. We’ve always tagged the guy as Ziegler’s successor, but for whatever reason, he hasn’t won the job outright. Could he step into the role and lessen the transition?
But... I don’t think Bressan brings the attacking skillset that Luchi wants in the role. He’s a solid defender and may get some minutes at the position, but I just don’t see this as part of Luchi’s tactical plans. I think the fact that Bressan hasn’t been able to break the Starting XI on a regular basis also speaks to the coaching staff needing more from him.
Bryan Reynolds: This week, I got an email from one of Bryan’s number one fans, whose identity I will keep secret. He glowingly emailed me some great info, reminding me that Bryan is ready to step into the position, has trained with the likes of Bayern Munich, represented the youth national team, and is even working through contract negotiations on a new deal with FC Dallas. Bryan missed the game day squad this past week with a false positive test, so he should be back in the mix and may even be ready to start taking over this Friday. It’s a reminder that Reggie got his first start at the age of 19, and Bryan too is 19 and is likely the next man up to step into the role. In the words of Bryan’s no. 1 fan, the right back “has pace and (is) excellent going forward”.
But... Reynolds would need to learn on the job a bit, adjusting to the role just like Reggie did. I don’t see a problem with this, unless Luchi and company want to keep a more veteran squad on the field. In Reynold’s defense, reminded by my source, he’s already been a pro for four years, so it’s not like the youth international is being plunged into the unknown. He’s been around this team and had time to get ready.
This seems like a real positive fit. I could see Bryan doing some things with his attacking sensibility that even Reggie couldn’t do. Next man up?
Eddie Munjoma: Another youth mainstay who is actually older than Reynolds at 22, Munjoma is a serious contender to replace Reggie in the starting lineup. He is a recent homegrown signing who spent four years at SMU, racking up solid numbers and earning high marks, including 22 assists across 66 games. His time at SMU ended with being named AAC Defender of the Year in 2019 and a First Team All-American. Without a doubt, he has the experience and quality to step right in and make a difference.
But... it has likely been a hard year for a youngster like Munjoma to transition to the MLS level. It takes time to adjust to the physicality and speed of MLS. Missing practice and time to gel with the squad, Eddie may still be working hard to meet expectations of the coaching staff. Reynolds’ familiarity with the team may offer him an edge on Munjoma in that department. On the other hand, he could be ready for all we know. Why not?
I like this fit too. Luchi has two young options to consider, and he might even try to rotate them a bit to see how each both thrive in their positions or in certain situations.
Of course, we need to leave room for a wild card here. While Oscar Pareja seemed more open to the idea of recasting players into different roles, including Atiba Harris as one of the most recent, we haven’t seen that kind of imagination from Luchi yet. But maybe we will. Maybe the logjam in central midfield and the opening at right back is the opportunity for a an open casting call of sorts. Could Brandon Servania slot in at right back and continue his development? Could Edwin Cerrillo make a switch? How about Fafa Picault as a potential successor (putting that left foot to use on the right side)? How about Zdenek Ondrasek as MLS’ most fearsome right back?
Who do you think will fill the right back spot?
Of course, and this is so important, we know no one can truly replace Reggie. He is one of a kind, a leader, a gentleman, and a fierce footballer. There will always be an empty setting at the table at future FC Dallas’ team bbq gatherings. He will be missed.