Digging into the FC Dallas 3-4-2-1 depth chart for opening day

We have a depth chart on 3rd Degree year round, but with the season kicking off I thought it worth a dive into the depth chart for opening day.

It can and will change rapidly.


Injuries are having the biggest impact right now (in red on the chart) and I’ve taken them into account based on severity.

Long-term-injury players, I have dropped down to the bottom of the chart (Geovane Jesus & Alan Velasco).

The shorter-term-injury players I have left in their natural ranking or perhaps tweaked them a little if I feel a player may be threatening their job.

The short-term injuries range from Maraco Farfan who has a knock, to Ema Twumasi who is recovered and in training but not 100%, to Paxton Pomykal and Jesus Ferreira who have both been out most or all of spring with an unclear date of return.

The other consideration is that I want to list each player in one position. Obviously, in reality, that’s not how it works.

Center backs can shift across the line. 10s are interchangeable. Past Logan Farrington or Eugene Ansah at the 9 you might see Bernard Kamungo or Ferreira return rather than an unprover homwgrown.

Sebastian LLetget is probably 2nd in, at least, 4 positions, and could potentially play others. With Pomykal out, Liam Fraser will likely be in the XI with Asir Illarramendi in the double pivot rather than say, Tsiki Ntsabeleng.

The 3-4-2-1

People at the club have started calling the shape a 3-4-2-1, which is an improvement from calling it a 5-2-2-1.

Look, it’s a 3-4-3. But I’ll give in and go with the 3-4-2-1 that the club seems to want. I think it’s to emphasize the 2-1 up top, as I’ve written multiple times, that’s the key. But it’s all the same shape.

The FC Dallas 3-4-2-1 depth chart for Opening Day 2024.
The FC Dallas 3-4-2-1 depth chart for Opening Day 2024.

Notes and Comments

We understand Marco Farfan has a knock but Dante Sealy is a legit candidate to take over the left wingback spot anyway. The wingback in particular needs an offensive punch. Sealy has that.

Speaking of wingback and offensive punch, Herbert Endeley has also had a great spring. With the pile of injuries at the right wingback spot he got his chance and took it. Ema Twumasi is back playing/training but not yet 100% peak form so Endeley could get that opening day start. Right wingback will be a real battle this season, even more so when Geovane Jesus comes back this summer.

Don’t discount the idea that Paul Arriola can also play right wingback. He probably doesn’t want to, we haven’t seen it yet, and I would hate to “waste” a million-plus paid player in that spot, so I’m not putting it on the chart. But if and when everyone is healthy that might be a real option.

I think the ideal double pivot is Illarramendi and Pomykal. But Fraser will see plenty of action too and Lleget can also factor.

At this point, we have no clue how good Patrickson Delgado is, nor what kind of shape he’s in. So I stuck him on the bottom of the chart for now. Time will tell.

I’ve reported Antonio Carrera is set for a loan. I would expect Tarik Scott and Malik Henry-Scott to both start the season with North Texas SC. Henry-Scott was with them rather than going to Spain while Scott was with Jamaica U20s. I think both are in Los Toritos camp now.

Nolan Norris, Tomas Pondeca, Ale Urzua, and perhaps even Amet Korca could see time at NTX as well.

It remains to be seen what the club is going to do with Isaiah Parker. He too was with North Texas SC rather than going to Spain. I like him but it’s clear the gaffer doesn’t. They should be trying to trade the kid.


  1. Has a decision been made on the two CB draft picks? You don’t include either in your roster. Also, I thought Bernie was far more impactful in the middle than Paul despite the stats. Jesus and Bernie could be deadly in the attack.

  2. I can’t wait until Geovane Jesus gets back and can play to his strengths – get forward, cross to a tall #9 and not have to worry so much about defense.

    1. Velasco, maybe mid to late August. Although the club thinks he’s ahead of schedule.

      There will absolutely be rotations at wingback. It takes immense work rate and fitness. I seriously doubt a wingback will go 90 minutes.

  3. I apologize in advance for the length of this comment

    Why I don’t like the 3-4-2-1 for FCD

    A common principle in team sport is “play your best players”. Ignoring that principle generally means losing, or at least, not winning as much as you should. The 3-4-2-1 for FCD violates this principle. The team’s most talented and expensive players are all attacking players (Musa, Ferreira, Velasco, Arriola). There are only three dedicated attacking spots in that formation for these four players. The only one of the four who can play outside of the top three spots is Arriola, who played wingback at Tijuana, but he hasn’t played that position in years. Additionally, Kamungo emerged last year as a legitimate attacking threat and there is no place for him in this formation to start. He will be relegated to the bench along with Lletget ($700K+).

    On the flip side, this means you have to start two players that were reserves last year. Junqua was a good utility man last year but that doesn’t mean he’s a starting level CB. In fact, his professional career strongly suggests he is only a reserve MLS player, but because of the formation he is now required to start at LCB because Dallas has no one better. The same can be said of Sealy. Sealy has yet to prove he is a starting level player in MLS at any position, but this formation requires a left footed wingback that can attack and Sealy is the best option FCD has. I realize he had a good preseason but it’s just preseason and I seem to remember Santiago Mosquera and Freddy Vargas having good preseasons, too.

    So now the success of the new formation really boils down to whether two 2023 reserve players can level up to be at least league average starters in 2024. I find that wishful thinking. And your attack is going to have to make due with only three dedicated attackers instead of the four that the 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 provided. I just don’t see how this formation is an improvement for the team.

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