If you’ve followed FC Dallas for a few years now you will know how much the club under Technical Director Andrew Zanotta likes to use player loans. The club has used both incoming loans but they also like to use outgoing loans.
The second of those is what I want to talk about today, the use of the outbound loan.
Some outbound loans are loans with a buy option where the club is looking to, perhaps, cash in. But there is also a developmental kind of outbound loan.
It’s pretty clear to us that FC Dallas has a developmental issue that exists between North Texas SC and FC Dallas. Right now there is a gap in the quality between the two leagues. Players who have progressed past the level of MLS Next Pro still aren’t – sometimes – ready to break into the first team rotation.
Particularly under this current coach who wants a smaller first-team roster anyway.
Plus, FCD just likes that intermediate step for young players. You can look at many of the current FCD core and most of them have gone on loans to help their progression.
Jesus Ferreria at Tulsa Roughnecks, Ema Twumasi at OKC Energy and Austin Bold, Brandon Servania at Tulsa and St Polten (Austria). Nicky Hernandez went to San Antonio FC last year. Thomas Roberts went to Austria Klagenfurt. Chris Richards (Bayern), Justin Che (Bayern and Hoffenheim), Dante Sealy (PSV)… Some are for potential sale, some are more about progression, but all of them are a benefit to the player.
So, who’s next?
These loans and the destination are just suggestions, I’m not reporting anything. Settle down.
Justin Che – Hoffenheim
Justin Che just got elevated to the Hoffenheim first team. His current loan runs out in June and it seems he’s on track for the buy at that point. So it doesn’t seem like Che will be coming back.
Why Hoffenheim? Cause he’s already there and got promoted.
Why not? The only stumbling block I can see is the buy price. How high is it?
Dante Sealy – Club Brugge
Unlike Che, Dante Sealy seems to not be breaking through at PSV. His loan also runs out in June could he be sent back sooner? If Sealy wanted to come back now or in June that would be fine, but I think his agent will push him to take another loan.
Why Clue Brugge? Brugge is a quality club known for developing talent. But Brugge and the Belgium league aren’t quite the same level as PSV and the Dutch league. Plus Brugge seems to like FCD players.
Why not? How far has Sealy fallen? He’s under contract with FCD through 2024 with two more club options after that. Sealy has enough talent there for FCD to keep him.
If he comes back FCD should loan him somewhere in USL instead of keeping him in Dallas where he would be buried on the bench. The kid needs to play.
Isaiah Parker – FC Tulsa
More than any other current player I think Isaiah Parker has surpassed North Texas SC. He’s young and talented but he still needs bags of playing time. I want him to start close to 30 games in a league better than MLS Next Pro.
Why FC Tulsa? Cause Tulsa re-signed Jorge Corrales, their 31-year-old left back who is coming off an ACL tear toward the end of last season.
Why not? If Parker is deemed by Coach Estevez to be the straight backup to Marco Farfan and FCD expects Parker to play enough with FCD+NTX to progress.
Collin Smith – New Mexico United
With Collin Smith, the additions of Geovane, the potential addition of draft pick Herbert Endeley, Yeicar Perlaza at North Texas SC, and FCD starter Ema Twumasi, there are now five players at right back between the two clubs. That’s at least one too many.
In addition, like Parker, Smith has, to my eye, also out-progressed MLS Next Pro.
So the time has come for Smith to go on loan.
Why New Mexico United? NMU is a solid organization that seems (via my cursory examination of their roster) to need a right back. The hard-working Smith will fit in well with their style.
Why not? If something goes seriously wrong with the Geovane loan.
Um, honestly… It better happen, somewhere. If Smith is with NTX in 2023 something has gone very wrong. Smith sitting deep on the FCD bench and not playing in 2023 would be even worse.
North Texas SC Loans
Just like in 2022, every game both Maarten Paes and Jimmy Maurer are healthy is a chance for Antonio Carrera to start at North Texas SC. Other than when he’s gone with the US U20s, “La Muralla” should get every start for NTX.
This won’t technically be a full-season loan tough, Carrera will bounce back and forth based on need and will train with FCD full-time.
I think 2023 will be the last season for Carrera at NTX, after this, if FCD is still using Maurer, then Carrera should head to the USL for a loan.
Why North Texas SC? So he can stay in first-team training.
Why not? The only reason for a “not” answer is if FCD parts with Maurer either because of Maurer’s age (aka decline) or if Carrera’s progression is ahead of schedule.
New homegrown Nolan Norris is a quality player and leader with a lot of soccer smarts. He’s a left back for now with a possible left center back future. But he needs to be playing. MLS Next Pro is perfect for this kind of player.
A season-long NTX loan would be the right call as this is one of the prime directives of the developmental side. Norris should start every game at one of his two positions. Throwing him into MLS action at this point is probably not a good idea.
Even if Parker is gone on loan, I don’t think now is the time for Norris to crack the FCD rotation. Ask me again toward the end of the season, I might feel different.
Why North Texas SC? Nolan’s not yet ready for anything higher.
Why not? A Parker loan might mean Nolan has to be the Farfan emergency backup. But I don’t like that idea right now. Use Twumasi on the left instead if necessary.
The other new Homegrown, Tarik Scott, has been the most dangerous attacker in the FCD Academy the last two seasons at both wing and the 9. He scored two goals in his first game with NTX last year (but didn’t score again).
Scott is going to have a bright future but his time at FCD isn’t now. Between Paul Arriolla, Alan Velasco, and Jader Obrian there are enough players to start on the wings. The “young player on the rise” minutes will go to Bernie Kamungo this year.
So send Scott to North Texas SC for the ’23 season where he can start every game. Toss in an occasional first-team training and he’ll be on track. Maybe a couple of FCD bench appearances later in the season if a couple of first-team wingers are missing.
Why North Texas SC? So he can bounce up if needed in FCD training or on a bench.
Why not? Injury to a wing opens a need or explosive progression by Scott.
FCD’s first-round pick, Herbert Endeley, is an interesting player. He’s a winger out of Indiana FCD is considering converting to right back. Coach Estevez said they will determine that during spring training.
Let’s be honest, with all the right backs and wings around these parts, it’s a long shot Endeley gets a straight FCD contract rather than a North Texas SC contract.
But if he does get the FCD deal, I think Endeley will still be with North Texas SC the whole season as FCD has two right backs already and lots of wings.
Why North Texas SC? Cause that’s where FCD develops players, particularly converting projects.
Why not? If he signs directly with NTX or passed completely and heads to a USL team.
Bounce Down to NTXSC and Back
There are two players I see bouncing down to North Texas SC from time to time.
For the most part, I think FC Dallas is going to need José Mulato with the first team. Right now they are short a 9 but even if they get another, Jesus Ferreira will miss time with call-ups and FCD needs a variety of sub types anyway.
So between appearances with FCD, Mulato can bounce day for a game here or there. No need to stagnate him.
Between injuries and rotation, Amet Korça will get a fair amount of time at FCD in training and/or on the bench. But just like Mulato, FCD won’t want him to stagnate.
We’ve seen young center backs bounce down for PT before. Lucas Bartlett last year. Nkosi Tafari back a few seasons. It’s pretty standard.