While free agency in other American sports feels like a bigger deal, in Major League Soccer, it is just another step in the offseason roster building.
FC Dallas has ten open slots to fill, though some will happen via the MLS SuperDraft next month through Homegrown player signings and transfers from overseas. The rest could happen through free agency and the league’s annual Re-Entry Draft.
Here are some players that could be intriguing for FC Dallas to go after this winter through free agency. (see the full list here)
Aaron Long - With Matt Hedges potentially on his way out of Frisco as a free agent in his own right, the club could turn to another United States men’s National team player in Long. According to MLS Soccer's Tom Bogert, they’re already on the shortlist of clubs that want to sign Long.
Teams I'm expecting to be in the market for Aaron Long in MLS free agency are the LA Galaxy, Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas and more.— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) November 10, 2022
There is interest in Long in England like Bournemouth, West Ham & others, I'm told. Not expecting serious movement here until after the World Cup. pic.twitter.com/JkQGATxk84
Just like Hedges, he won’t come cheap. In 2022, he earned over $1 million for the Red Bulls. Still, even though the club wasn’t willing to pay that much for Hedges in 2023 by picking up his option, signing a younger version after the World Cup isn’t a bad way to go about it if they can make him fit into the salary cap. Big ask there.
Alexander Callens - If Hedges or Long fail to work out, maybe Callens is the right target for FC Dallas to anchor the center defense. He’s another expensive option ($814k in 2022), but the Peruvian is arguably one of the league’s best defenders right now. At 30 years old, he is also at the right age, in my mind, to lead the defense for a few seasons.
Derrick Etienne - Columbus had a pair of surprises on their end-of-season roster announcements, Pedro Santos and Etienne. While I think Santos could be an intriguing option at fullback here in Dallas, his age (34) isn’t ideal for a club that likes to go young. On the other hand, Etienne could be a nice depth option in the midfield. His production in 2022 was good for the Crew, as he scored nine goals and added six assists. Given the extra games for League’s Cup and the USOC in 2023, I like the idea of adding another option in the attack. Also, he was super cheap in 2022, with total compensation of $175k. Even a modest bump wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Mikey Ambrose - The one that got away? Eh? Sure, there is something to be said about looking at a former academy player that has had some success in MLS. But given that there is a big need for depth at fullback going into next year, adding a guy with MLS experience at a cheap price (he made $85k in 2022) feels like a decent route to take here.
Joao Moutinho - No, not that Joao Moutinho. I’m talking about the one that recently played 29 games at left back with Orlando City in 2022. He’s still young (24 years old) and has a ton of MLS experience under his belt (86 games played). He’s a tad more expensive than Ambrose (he earned $263k in 2022), but he could be a nice insurance plan to back up Marco Farfan. Orlando extended a Bona Fide offer to him, meaning they get to keep his MLS rights. So FC Dallas would have to match that offer from Orlando to obtain him.
Gyasi Zardes - I remember Matt Doyle calling this one out a while back as a potential guy that FC Dallas should target in the offseason. While he is an expensive option ($1.5m in 2022), he could be a nice guy to have on the field once the club figures out what they’re doing with Franco Jara.
What free agents are you looking at for FC Dallas to target?