The first real action of the 2023 year is finally upon us. FC Dallas will take the field at Toyota Stadium this evening when they host Ecuadorian powerhouse Barcelona SC.
Let’s get one thing out the way first; the only way to watch this one will be to be there in person. Tickets are available and for purchase here. FC Dallas has stated that a stream will not be available online to watch this one.
Who is Barcelona SC?
Just a quick note on the opponent for tonight. This friendly will be the first matchup between both clubs and FC Dallas’ first meeting against an Ecuadorian team. Barcelona is the most successful soccer club in Ecuador, winning the league 16 times.
Some diehards of FC Dallas may also recall that we’ve had a few players come from there over the years. Former strikers Cristian Colmán and Ariel Graziani played for both teams throughout their careers, while current Barcelona S.C. defender Joshué Quiñónez was on loan with FC Dallas during the 2022 season.
What to expect out of FC Dallas
A lot of rust - This is the first real game that isn’t an intrasquad scrimmage. I would expect some players to be a tad rusty as head coach Nico Estevez rotates through most of his roster on the evening.
Don’t get too worked up over anything - We’re barely two weeks into the preseason, folks, and while it is fun to get worked up over an amazing goal or a strong performance in a preseason game, it can only mean so much in the end. I’ve lost count of the times that we’ve all worked ourselves up over a new player’s performance in these types of games only to be disappointed with their performance across an entire season. So yeah, take these games with a grain of salt.
Missing stars - Several players will be missing for this one due to national team duties. Forwards Paul Arriola, Jesus Ferreira and midfielder Paxton Pomykal are all with the United States National team in California for their January camp. They’ll face Serbia tonight.
Homegrown goalkeeper Antonio Carrera is also with the U.S. U-20 Men’s Youth National Team.
Rookie tests - Unlike in years past when FC Dallas has drafted players already signed by MLS either via a senior contract (think Lucas Bartlett) or a Generation adidas deal (think Isiash Parker), the 2023 rookies will all be looking to earn a spot on this year’s roster. I’d keep an eye on first round pick Herbert Endeley out of Indiana. FCD has plans to potentially convert him into a full back, and if he can make his case in an early game like this, it might have a shot at sticking around in 2023.
Position Battles - We’ll certainly dive into this more in the coming weeks as the team heads to Spain, but keep a watch out on the roster battles at right back and in the defensive midfield. Those are the two hot spots that Estevez will have to sort out by the start of the season.
I’d also toss in who will be the other center back starter next to veteran Jose Martinez. Will it be Nkosi Tarfari or newcomer Sebastian Ibeagha?
Lastly, don’t sleep on those backup roles, either. Can Brandon Servania do enough to overtake Pomykal in the preseason while he is away on national team duty? What can José Mulato and Bernard Kamungo (both signed from North Texas) show while Arriola and Ferrerira are away?
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