We’re just a few days short of one month from when I first wrote about FC Dallas and their roster building for 2023. You can read the original post here where I talk about constructing the roster and where holes exist in the structure.
Since then FC Dallas has added Jose Mulato from North Texas SC, Tarik Scott and Nolan Norris who are both homegrowns from the Academy, Sebastien Ibeagha from LAFC, and now appear to be closing in on Geovane Jesus a right-back from Cruzeiro. Plus it seems they lost out on Matt Hedges, unsurprisingly.
As a reminder, all of this is about basic roster construction. How FC Dallas might actually improve the team overall is a different question and will come in a new article or podcast soon.
So how’s the construction looking now?
FC Dallas Roster Construction 2023
Using the same model I have for a couple of years now with 30 roster slots. It’s basically a 2-deep with an extra attacker and center back plus five open extra spots.
|3||9||Young reserve||Jose Mulato|
|9||Free-8||U-22 initiative?||Young player ideally. U22, draft pick, or Homegrown?|
|16||CB||Starter caliber||Might need to be domestic.|
|19||CB||Veteran depth||Sebastien Ibeagha|
|20||CB||Young reserve||Draft pick or Homegrown?|
|22||RB||Collin Smith?||Geovane Jesus, maybe.|
|30||Extra||Open for Dante Sealy or Justin Che?|
Thoughts, Questions, and Needs
I’ve talked several times this winter about Coach Nico Esteves’ desire to shrink his operating roster in terms of training and game day. So don’t be shocked if 4 or 5 players remain on loan all year, giving the coach an approximate 22-man roster in training from day to day.
- Dante Sealy and Justin Che remain on loan. Both players’ loans expire in June of this season.
- Geovane Jesus will – if signed – occupy the last currently open international spot and probably be a U-22 Initiative player.
- Something will have to give for FC Dallas to bring in another international. Trade an int player, cut an int player, get a green card, or acquire another int spot.
- With Collin Smith being, potentially, bumped down by Geovane Jesus can Smith still make the FCD roster or is he back with North Texas SC all season? USL-C might be an even better option.
- Has Isaiah Parker progressed enough to make the senior roster and rotation? This ain’t play the kids anymore. I thought he was good enough last year.
- Like 2022, Antonio Carrera will get most of the starts at North Texas SC unless he’s needed in the FCD game-day roster. This isn’t a season-long loan like some others will have.
- Unless something changes, I anticipate that Nolan Norris and Tarik Scott will spend most, if not all, of 2023 with North Texas.
- I think FCD still needs a central mid, a backup for Sebastian Lletget. I even named a candidate I have in mind on the most recent podcast and he doesn’t require an international spot. Right now, if Lletget is missing it will be Paxton Pomykal who fills the free-8 spot.
- Don’t read too much into my choice to list Brandon Servania in the linking-8 position and Tsiki Ntsabeleng as “extra” as both players are pretty equal on the depth chart behind Pomykal.
- Based on his career, Sebastien Ibeagha replaces Matt Hedges as the projected veteran depth piece in the build.
- Last but not least, my take is that FCD still needs a top-line center back or at least someone capable of pushing Jose Martinez and Nkosi Tafari. Can FCD land an Aaron Long or Alexander Callens? (I’m a firm believer in 4 CBs capable of starting plus 1 youth project.)
I think the front office should make a push for Long. If he desires TAM money, I think we can probably afford that, and he hasn’t seen the drop off Hedges has (even with Long’s injury), and is 2 years younger. I won’t be surprised if someone else out bids us, but we should make a TAM push.
Any former Academy players finishing college who might make a worthwhile #5 CB?
I got a college list coming. No one who is finishing college but a couple of underclassmen yes.
Any thoughts/speculation on what position the DP slot will be used to fill in the summer? Is it possible to use it on an existing contract (like Arriola or Lletget) to free up cap space down the roster?
It’s way too early to say, it will depend on how things progress and how players are looking (or who is leaving).
I know that Ibeagha is old, but I dont think they signed him to put him on the bench. He played in an MLS Cup Final with the best team in the league. He’s definitely starting next to Martinez
The only reason he played was because both Chiellini and Segura were hurt. He was thir 4th choice CB and went long stretches of the season without playing at all.