What FC Dallas still needs according to the experts
Everyone seems to be in agreement about where FCD is at right now.
In this space, we have talked a lot about what FC Dallas is doing and in some ways not doing this winter as they prepare for the upcoming 2024 season.
But from time to time, it is good to get some outside opinions as to what the club should be doing as well. I’ve gone through some of my main daily reads and have collected a (short) list of what the experts across the web have said FC Dallas needs to acquire before the start of the 2024 season.
Let’s just say they’re all pretty much in agreement on the key need.
MLSSoccer.com’s Matt Doyle - Add a starting center back
Nkosi Tafari is in his prime and is the first name on the team sheet. He’s got veterans Sebastien Ibeagha and Omar Gonzalez behind him.
That’s solid depth, but neither of those guys are a starter for a team with title aspirations. Dallas have to go out hunting for another in-his-prime center back who can go out there 40 times across all competitions this season.
Getting another young d-mid wouldn’t hurt, either.
The Athletic’s Tom Bogert - Center back, No. 9
FC Dallas needs a starting center back to partner Nkosi Tafari. They’ve had a bit of a revolving door there over the last few years. Jose Martinez departed this winter, Matt Hedges last winter and Reto Ziegler after 2020.
If the club opens the budget further, a DP No. 9 would be a big boost for Nico Estevez’s side. That would allow Jesus Ferreira to play as a second forward next to a more traditional No. 9. The club has had this DP spot open since last winter, though.
Backheeled’s Ben Wright - Center back, midfield, fullback
Thanks to Bernard Kamungo’s breakout season, FC Dallas have a loaded front line even with Alan Velasco’s ACL injury set to keep him out for most of 2024. Their starting midfield trio is solid, although it looks thin outside of Paxton Pomykal, Asier Illarramendi and Sebastian Lletget.
Their most glaring need is at center back, though. Nkosi Tafari is a decent center back in this league, but otherwise signing one or more starting-caliber defenders is a must.
So why another center back?
It is pretty simple. FC Dallas currently has three signed today: Nkosi Tafair, Omar Gonzalez and Sebastien Ibeagha. The real concern among anyone who looks at this team right now is that Tafari is the only main starter of the bunch. Gonzalez should only be chipping in some minutes off the bench or getting limited starts at this point in his career. Ibeagha, while a solid starter in his own right in 2023, is also getting older.
But wasn’t the key duo in 2023 Ibeagha and Tafari? Yes. 100%. I think the key thing to be concerned with here is that there isn’t more depth. Aside from that, FC Dallas has some cap space to work with since they let the likes of Facundo Quignon, Jose Martinez and Jader Obrian walk after the 2023 season. According to Bogert, they also have a DP slot available1 to work with. The bummer on that part is the best DP-level center back available this winter is already off the market, with Miles Robinson going to Cincinnati.
What about that #9?
To me, that is a stay-tuned kind of idea for the club right now. They need to do two things: buy out Jesus Jimenez and wait for the MLS transfer window to open up later this month. Having that additional cap space opened up from buying out Jimenez’s beastly cap hit will help make things a bit easier should the club have a DP lined up to sign. Which they really should at this point. If they don’t, then, oh boy, we have some issues.
Ben Wright mentioned fullbacks and some midfield depth. Matt Doyle also mentioned a young D-mid in his write-up as well. Both of those options feel like summer signings to me at this point. Needed? Sure. Vital to success out of the fate in 2024? Nah.
Yes, Paul Arriola was on the DP list last season, but it appears, for now, that FCD has used some allocation money trickery to get him below the DP line. So, that is good!