At the media event before the opening match of the season, FC Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez answered a question from me about where he felt the team was in regards to position battles.
In short, he is excited about this bunch of players. His enthusiasm leaked out all over his answer as he talked about the players he gets to work with week in and out.
“I like our depth,” said Gonzalez. “We are still going to look at our options maybe in the summer if we need to add a piece or two. I think we have the team to compete right away for goals.”
On the backline, Gonzalez admitted there were different ideas and configurations that they experimented with throughout preseason and added the availability of Ema Twumasi as an option at outside back, indicating the player has been cleared for full training with the team.
On Jose Martinez’s addition, Gonzalez radiated with superlatives.
“Jose’s immediately made a really positive impact with the quality of play, with and without the ball. He's not afraid to defend a high line. He can deal with speed. Good in the air,” Luchi said. “Very good directing teammates in the field. With the ball, lots of quality to play out of different presses.”
Gonzalez mentioned that both Edwin Cerrillo and Bryan Acosta had great preseasons with the club. In fact, for Acosta, Gonzalez said, “I believe it has been his best preseason since he’s been with the club.”
For wings, with mostly new faces like Vargas, Obrian, ElMedkhar, Redzic, Paxton, and soon Schon, Luchi was blunt, “In the wing position, it is really exciting with depth.”
Up top, he seemed content. “As a coach, I couldn't be happier with our options at nine. I know one is injured right now, but we’ve got two other really high-quality nines that are ready to take care of business.”
What does this mean after a 0-0 draw to start the season?
- Jesus Ferreira’s absence does leave the striker position thin. Ferreira will be out 3-5 weeks with shoulder ligament damage, and since Ferreira has been in form from his time with the US Men’s National Team, you can argue the team missed his presence off the bench on Saturday. With news that the team has acquired another international spot, is Luchi hinting that striker is an area where another body, sometime to compete or push for minutes if Franco Jara struggles to put away chances, becomes a strong possibility closer to the summer?
- Luchi’s energy for this team, now a heavily revamped squad with youth players that he knows well, a few holdovers from the Pareja era, and new faces, is palpable. Is the team beginning to look more and more like what Luchi envisions for how the game should be played? When we will begin to see the fruit of that hard work?
- A roster with lots of competition is ideal for any team and will push young players to improve their skills to get playing time. What does this added depth, especially new veteran players in almost every position on the field, mean for homegrowns? Does Luchi feel pressure to play the higher-priced veterans over their homegrown counterparts? Stay tuned, as I may ask this very question in the next call with Luchi and the staff.
What did you hear in Luchi’s response to my question? What would you ask Luchi?