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Predicting an All FC Dallas Lineup for World Cup 2022

If Gregg Berhalter wants success in Qatar, he should look to FC Dallas.

MLS: Portland Timbers at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Congratulations, United States Men’s National Team. You qualified for the World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

While your final game of qualifying wasn’t necessarily the master class we had hoped for, the US kept Costa Rica from threatening the goal differential. They did their job and booked an automatic slot. Once again, over these cycles, we’ve seen that this US Men’s National Team can look like heavy favorites… and they can look a little toothless.

Wednesday night was no different.

There is time for players to continue to grow over these next few months, maybe even a few landing themselves in better positions for regular playing time. It’s a very young team, and that’s a good thing.

What is key here for Gregg Berhalter and company is that an FC Dallas-heavy roster is the only way to guarantee victory. So while yes, this is a bit of a fun article of pointless conjecture - it’s also a valuable think piece that Berhalter should read (and bookmark) as he begins the process of evaluating the available player pool ahead of the big showdown in the desert.

(Also, if he wants to add me to the coaching staff and pay my way to Qatar for my valuable insight, I will be happy to agree to terms.)

Choosing mostly players with connections to FC Dallas is challenging though, as there are a few positions where Dallas must simply produce more talent.

Potential Lineups for an all FC Dallas 23 Man Roster

*First Choice Starters

Goalkeepers: Antonio Carrera*, Jimmy Maurer

Once upon a time, Jesse Gonzalez would have absolutely been in the picture, as he was on the radar with his performances in goal. That is until he messed up his life.

As it is, goalkeeper is one position that Dallas is thin at. Jimmy Maurer is probably not anything better than a veteran backup at the international level, so I will go with Antonio Carrera to start after a full season in goal with North Texas SC which will lead him quickly into a starting spot for the senior team. He is super young. He will be tested, but the kid can play.

Watch North Texas SC this weekend if you don’t believe me.

Right Backs: Reggie Cannon*, Shaq Moore

Reggie Cannon gets the nod to start in this role at right back with FC Dallas academy product Shaq Moore in the mix as well. Both guys would bring strong experience from Europe. Two quality right backs is a solid place to start for this lineup.

Center Backs: Chris Richards*, Justin Che, Walker Zimmerman*, Matt Hedges

Obviously, Chris Richards is a lock in this role, and he’s only going to get better. Justin Che is also a good shout and brings some versatility to the backline, as he could help out on the right in an emergency. Walker Zimmerman is also a lock, as he had his formative years with FC Dallas before moving elsewhere. I would go ahead and bring in Matt Hedges as that veteran presence for depth. Matt never could translate his game to the international level, but when he is on, he is on.

Left Back: Jonathan Gomez, Ryan Hollingshead, Marco Farfan*

Another tricky position, but there are options. Jonathan Gomez is an FC Dallas academy alum who has already earned at least one callup for the US. Ryan Hollingshead, now with LAFC, doesn’t fit Gregg Berhalter’s system, but he could provide cover all along the backline. Marco Farfan is thriving in Frisco and would be a great fit for the system. I think his ceiling is really high.

Midfielders: Weston McKennie*, Paxton Pomykal*, Edwin Cerrillo*, Tanner Tessmann, Brandon Servania, Kellyn Acosta, Johan Gomez

An embarrassment of riches! Weston obviously is the biggest name here, and the rest of the lineup works pretty well too with a mix of regular starters and European talent. Paxton should be a starter by the time the World Cup rolls around for this national team, and Edwin Cerrillo is taking his game to another level. Brandon Servania is perfect for a Berhalter-style system, and Tanner Tessmann is going to break through and garner more buzz. Kellyn Acosta can give you minutes at left back if needed, and Johan Gomez is another interesting name who can provide some attacking flair off the bench.

Wingers: Paul Arriola*, Bryan Reynolds, Dante Sealy*

Another slot on the roster which needs work. Our winger selection is pretty thin at this point. Paul Arriola is an automatic shout, and while Bryan Reynolds is more suited to being a right back, we need bodies out wide. He will do and played there a lot as a youngster. Dante Sealy should make his European stay permanent soon and would be great for the team.

Strikers: Jesus Ferreira*, Ricardo Pepi

No surprise here, and if things hold, these may be the two starting strikers for the US going into Qatar. Obviously, Pepi needs to get going again, which is going to happen. He’s been through some tough times before. Jesus Ferreira also gives the team some extra flexibility if they need him to step into the midfield in a creative role, and his playing situation means he will be hot going into December.

Names Left Off:

Fafa Picault could give the team some veteran presence on the wings, and he has some national team experience. He was with FC Dallas for one season, so the connection is pretty tenuous. But frankly, that ship has sailed.

We could consider some names from North Texas SC or players deeper on the roster, like Benji Redzic, Isaiah Parker, or Derek Waldek. There are a couple of other interesting names out there too, like Victor Ulloa or Thomas Roberts that could be depth pieces. But I don’t think they make the cut at this point.

If the team needs a third keeper, which I believe is mandatory, the only other possibility is Richard Sanchez, an academy alum who was with North Texas last season. I guess.

What do you think?

Predict the group stage outcome for this roster. If you predict an early exit, you are wrong. It’s false. It’s fake news. I am prepared to argue with you.

If you predict a World Cup victory, then I’ll allow it. In fact, if Berhalter hires me, I may bring you along as a personal assistant.

But the big picture is this - the success of the resurgent US National Team is heavily dependent on the FC Dallas Academy and senior team. That’s an amazing thing, right? It may only get better as Nico Estevez and Dan Hunt continue this new era together.