11 reasons to look forward to the 2022 FC Dallas season

With so many offseason moves, there is much to look forward to FC Dallas in 2022.

11 – A New Formation

New manager Nico Estevez’ preferred system seems to be a 4-3-3 with a holding mid behind a mix of 8’s ahead of them. One issue that plagued FC Dallas in 2021 was an imbalanced midfield, with few true 6’s paired together in the 4-2-3-1, which lead to problems in both halves of the field.

10 – Our #10

Mauro Diaz’ departure left FC Dallas creatively adrift for a couple of seasons, with his potential replacements never finding their footing in the league. But Jesus Ferreira’s 8 goal 8 assist season in 2021 seemed to be a huge step toward bringing a creative force back to FC Dallas.

Ferreira’s .27 expected assists per 90 ranked in in the 89th percentile, coupled with his full attacking output ranking him in the top 85% in MLS, Jesus Ferreira is on track to be a true force for FC Dallas in 2022.

Ferreira 0220212_fcd_26547
Jesus Ferreira dribble up the sideline in the preseason matchup against San Antonio FC. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

9 – Franco Jara Part 3?

Despite a rather blunt season, playing second fiddle to an 18-year-old much of it, Franco Jara matched his goal total from the previous season in fewer minutes played than before.

Although he may be slower than rush hour traffic on the tollway, his underlying numbers still give hope. Jara’s non-penalty xG per 90 of .5, as well as his shots per 90 of 4.14, puts him in the 88th and 95th percentiles respectively for MLS. While he may not be poised for a breakout season or an MVP run, Franco Jara might still have enough left in the tank to put together a solid 2022 season.

8 – Pomykal Primed for Success in the Midfield

For years, Paxton Pomykal’s greatest strengths have been passing, creativity, and industry, all of which have not been utilized to his full extent when he plays out wide as a winger. Connecting defense to attack was, even as a winger, most impressive from Pomykal in 2021.

In Estevez’s 4-3-3, Paxton has been tipped to play as a box-to-box midfielder, in the 8-position, where his industry and creativity will be on full display. Pomykal’s role in the team could be a key to great success in 2022.

The 8 role also fits with the playstyle of other FC Dallas midfielders such as Brandon Servania and Thomas Roberts (on loan in Austria).

7 – La Joya Velasco

Oftentimes, FC Dallas’ most expensive signings have had minimal attacking returns.

With roughly $7 million invested into a young player with lots of room to develop, Alan Velasco’s arrival may signal a reason to hope for FC Dallas fans. He is an immensely talented winger with lots of experience in a competitive league. If the hype is to be believed, the jewel could be one of the top contributors for FC Dallas in 2022.

Alan Velasco. Gig ’em

6 – A lone Defensive Midfielder

A lone central defensive midfield, with 2 box-to-box midfielders ahead, seems to be the midfield shape FC Dallas will roll into the 2022 season with. As such, Edwin Cerrillo and Facundo Quignon will be vying for playing time. The competition between the two could result in better performances for both of them.

Athleticism and positioning will be key, as much of their job outside of screening the back 4 will be covering for midfielders or fullbacks who have joined the attack.

5 – Five New Signings

Martin Paes will provide much-needed competition with Jimmy Maurer for the starting job, perhaps even surpassing him.

Nanu will add speed and overlapping runs after the right back position experienced turbulence for most of the year.

Paul Arriola’s pressing and defensive capabilities will help cover Nanu’s attacking runs.

Marco Farfan will provide defensive solidity on the left flank.

And Alan Velasco will look to change games with his attacking ability.

After a busy offseason, FC Dallas’ new faces will look to fill many holes that plagued the team in 2021.

4 – Four Potential Breakthroughs from North Texas SC

While North Texas will be making a switch from USL League One to the brand new MLS Next Pro league under new manager Pa-MoDou Kah, some North Texas players will be looking to make the switch to the first team.

Four names to keep an eye on in 2022 are: Kalil ElMedkar – who was often the best player on the field for the majority of North Texas games in 2021 – Nicky Hernandez, Beni Redzic, and Blane Ferri.

Ferri is one who I could envision getting first-team minutes this year, as his playstyle is electric and very comparable to Paxton Pomykal, likely filling in for him in the same role if called upon.

3 – Three First Round Picks

Isaiah Parker, Lucas Bartlett, and Tsiki Ntsabeleng were all drafted in the first round by FC Dallas. While Superdraft picks are often unpredictable in translating their skills to MLS, having 3 in the first-rounders ups the likelihood of hitting on one.

Parker is a left-sided player, able to play both wing and fullback. Bartlett is a more experienced central defender who will look to be FCD’s fourth-choice center back. And Tsiki is a player the clubs seems to believe in, as they will likely use an international slot on the South African.

2 – Two possible first team lineups

FC Dallas’ depth has improved greatly, and with the return of the MLS Open Cup, rotating players will be a vital key for success.

Cerrillo and Quingon are in a heated preseason battle for the starting spot. Maurer versus Paes will be a coach’s decision. Velasco is not yet training with the team but once the swing of the season begins, he will be starting games.

One interesting area will be the backup central midfielders. Thus far Ferri seems to be getting lots of preseason looks, alongside draft pick Tsiki in the midfield. Pomykal and Servania will have a lot asked of them in their positions and will be covering a lot of the field, meaning quality backups to give them rest are important for the club.

1 – It is a New Season, Anything is Possible

With a whirlwind of changes in the offseason, draft picks, trades, a spontaneous Dom Dwyer appearance, 2 new coaches, a whole league change for North Texas SC, and Dan Hunt’s revitalized Twitter account. There are many reasons for cautious optimism for FCD in 2022.

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