FC Dallas began the 2022 season with a slew of roster changes and improvements under first year manager Nico Estevez. The result of those changes led the club to an early strong start to the season. But after the club got into the middle of the month of July with the summer transfer window fully open, the cracks in the roster are beginning to show up in big ways.
Recently, Estevez told the media that he didn’t expect too many moves this summer outside of securing goalkeeper Maarten Paes on a permanent deal, which they did. The last couple of weeks has shown that the team needs some reinforcements to help continue their push back into the MLS Cup Playoffs.
The roster has available spots (at least two) right now to fill. The big question will come down to whether or not they use their remaining U-22 slot, what kind of allocation money they have left in the bank to throw at a big signing and whether or not they actually believe they need to do anything right now.
Will these moves happen? We’ll see, but one thing is certain, FC Dallas should be a buying team right now like they were back in January.
Figuring out the defense (again)
Look, the defense was stellar to begin the year. Paes was picking up clean sheets, Matt Hedges and Jose Martinez looked like the veteran duo that we had hoped for in 2021, and Marco Farfan was quickly making me forget all about Ryan Hollingshead. All felt right in the world again with FC Dallas having one of the stingiest defenses in all of MLS.
Things were good until they weren’t really in this department. The right back situation between Nanu and Ema Twumasi still hasn’t sorted itself out enough to know who truly is the better option. Farfan could be out for some time now with what looked like a pretty rough concussion against Houston. His backup option, Eddie Munjoma, honestly isn’t at the level of quality you want in a fullback in this league right now. Toss in the age and injuries that are popping up for the center backs into this discussion and it is kind of a mess right now.
The depth part is really a big issue for this area of the roster. We knew that if the main guys were healthy, things would be fine. And to a degree, when the first choice group is out there things are mostly good in this department. It is just those late-game swaps from the bench that don’t fill you with confidence anymore.
Dallas has two center back pieces down the depth charts in rookie Lucas Barlett and U-22 signee Joshué Quiñónez, but both have had injuries pop recently. Another rookie, Isaiah Parker has largely been with North Texas SC this season. You’d like him to be the answer since the club used such a high draft pick to get him but I don’t think he is there right now.
If Dallas wants to return to the playoffs in 2022, this area needs a boost. Maybe Richie Laryea? Who knows.
Patch up the central midfield
I want to start this one by saying that I do like Edwin Cerrillo and Facundo Quignon as the club’s two defensive midfielders. I like Brandon Servania and rookie Tsiki Ntsabeleng. And of course, I really do enjoy what Paxton Pomykal brings to the table.
But the central midfield is a bit of a mess right now, primarily in the defensive and holding mid spots. Cerrillo is certainly a serviceable defensive midfielder in MLS but I feel like he has turned into Victor Ulloa 2.0 for this club, and not into the makings of someone like Carlos Gruezo. He’s still maturing at 21 years old but it feels like he may be already hitting his ceiling. Quignon on the other hand, while being a solid veteran player to have on the roster can get overrun too easily at times in the middle of the park. Tossing him in front of a backline duo of Hedges and Martinez against a speedy team (like what we saw in Houston or against Austin) and it is scary how quickly things can fall apart.
If FCD had an open Designated Player slot to play with (yeah we’re still looking at you Franco Jara), this would be the area I would want to focus that caliber of signing with. Sadly, a depth signing may be all that is available to us at the moment.
Schon landing spot
Remember Szabolsc Schon? Seriously, do you?
I know a lot of folks have wondered where he has been this season. It was a common question we’d get during our in-game discussions on Twitter. Honestly, the simple answer that comes to mind at this point in the year, he just hasn’t found his way to become one of Estevez’s guys on the training pitch. That may be oversimplifying it a bit but that is how I see it right now.
We know Schon has the talent to do impressive things on the field but not being able to even crack the bench on a consistent basis this season is trouble when you consider he was brought in at a higher price tag on a U-22 deal.
Right now Schon needs playing time and a lot of it. With FC Dallas no longer dealing with USOC games or anything outside of the regular season, those minutes just aren’t happening for Schon. Loaning him out could also free up an international roster slot that FCD needs to likely have available to bring in someone new elsewhere on the roster.
What other areas do you see needing help? Let’s discuss it below.