Life gets in the way sometimes and that certainly happened with the roster rankings, but we’re back to look at the roster before FC Dallas pushes on into the postseason.
We’re ranking the 51 contracted players for FC Dallas and North Texas SC because power rankings are fun. There’s no great science to this, we’re taking into account who has played well, who has played at all, who the fans are talking about, as well as those of us in the media. So let’s get to it for the first time in 2023 with a number one that is not called Jesus Ferreira!
We kept all the players who were contracted with North Texas SC when then season ended… for now.
|High: 1||Low: 1||— 0||Illarra came in and has been an instant hit. The pure class of his game and elite mind is clearly visible. Yes, he debuts at the top of our list. The numbers he’s producing are just bonkers. – Buzz|
|High: 2||Low: 6||— 0||Tony Meola said the other day that you want your keeper to save everything they should, then one or two shots they really shouldn’t. That’s a fast way to sum up what Maarten Paes has brought to the second stingiest back line in all of MLS. – Dan|
|High: 1||Low: 3||▼ 2||What’s cooler than cool? Ice cold. Jesus continues to play really well but he hasn’t scored since late September and only has 2 goals (in the same game) since July. – Buzz|
|High: 2||Low: 5||▼ 1||22 Under 22 winner, Argentina call-up, and a pair of goals in the final month of the regular season. If Ferreira is Dallas’ leading man in 2023, Velasco is the best-supporting actor nominee. – Dan|
|High: 3||Low: 9||▼ 1||As the season wore on, Tafari became increasingly dominant. He’s now the key player on defense. He’s also starting to contribute going the other way. He had 3 goal-creating actions vs LA for example. – Buzz|
|High: 4||Low: 7||▼ 1||Farfan replicates his 2022 numbers after starting all but one game after the Leagues Cup break. – Dan|
|High: 7||Low: 15||— 0||Ibby far exceeded the expectations we had coming in with career highs in games, starts, and minutes, at the age of 31. A big part of the defensive quality. – Buzz|
|High: 2||Low: 10||▲ 2||Two goals and two assists down the stretch, the captain rounded out a tough regular season well. – Dan|
|High: 4||Low: 13||▲ 4||Pomykal came through the 7 games in 21 days stretch healthy and playing well. He’s not getting on the score sheet but his linking and progression play is increasing, perhaps under the influence of Illarra. – Buzz|
|High: 10||Low: 24||▲ 1||Bernie missed a chunk of the last period with a shoulder injury then limped out after grabbing a brace in LA. If Jesus doesn’t heat up, there’s a whole lot of pressure on Bernie to stay fit and score in the playoffs. – Dan|
|High: 6||Low: 23||▼ 2||Darth Jader is what he is, but he produced down the stretch with 4 goals and 2 assists in the final 8 games of the season. – Buzz|
In The Mix
|High: 12||Low: 20||▲ 2||Junqua started at either full-back position and CB in a back five down the stretch. He’s been an incredible role player in this team. – Dan|
|High: 11||Low: 18||▲ 5||Twumasi solidified his play after coming back from injury with a lot of attention on him with Geovane going out. Got his first career goal against LA on Decision Day. – Buzz|
|High: 14||Low: 16||▲ 2||Fraser endured a rough start to life in Frisco but has contributed well, going over 75 mins in four of his eight appearances. – Dan|
|High: 8||Low: 19||▲ 4||During the late seaon heavy load, Martinez fell out of the 3 CB rotation. Mostly because he struggles to go 90 minutes. – Buzz|
|High: 6||Low: 17||▼ 10||Facu has had a decent season, fending off Edwin until the arrival of Illarramendi. His undisclosed absence against LA leaves some questions. – Dan|
|High: 17||Low: 35||▲ 8||Surprisingly getting heavy bench minuted since his return from PSV. Inconsistent, but has shown flashes. – Buzz|
|High: 17||Low: 25||▼ 1||Even with a cold striker, Ansah still has yet to start a game and only managed 33 minutes in the last nine games. – Dan|
|High: 4||Low: 19||▼ 11||Lletget is close to returning from the second long-term injury of the season. 2023 has not been what he, or any of us, anticipated. – Buzz|
|High: 10||Low: 20||▼ 5||A grand total of one minute over the 11 games since Leagues Cup ended. – Dan|
|High: 20||Low: 22||▲ 1||Despite being 2nd choice with little PT, Maurer remains a massive influence on the club with his locker room presence and experience. – Buzz|
|High: 13||Low: 27||▲ 5||He really makes you miss Jara, Colman, etc. but JJ is getting regular minutes – Dan|
|High: 22||Low: 27||— 0||Smith is playing really well at Birmingham as the Legion advance to the 2nd round of the playofffs. – Buzz|
|High: 22||Low: 26||— 0||Toño is currently with his brother at the Pan American games. He made five saves in a 1-0 loss to Brazil on Monday. – Dan|
|High: 18||Low: 25||▼ 4||Norris saw reduced time as FCD got healthy and Illarra arrived. Got called up to the Pan Am Games team for US and started game 1. – Buzz|
|High: 10||Low: 26||▼ 10||The right ACL tear will keep him out until the summer. He was set to be in Brazil’s Pan American Games roster. – Dan|
|High: 17||Low: 27||▼ 1||Led North Texas SC in scoring with 11 goals and 3 assists but was sacrificed on the FCD roster to fit in Illarra. – Buzz|
|High: 18||Low: 34||▼ 8||Herbie finished out the season well with North Texas SC but has since vanished when you’d expect him to be back with the first team. – Dan|
|High: 25||Low: 31||▼ 1||North Texas SC’s best player (6 goals, 4 assists) despite missing a chuck of the season. I expected him to sign with FCD this winter but instead, his option was declined. – Buzz|
|High: 29||Low: 36||▼ 1||Missed the final seven games through injury but was one of just two options picked up by NTX. – Dan|
|High: 31||Low: 39||▲ 6||While he was a wing, I had a “hard pass’ grade on him. With the coaching change he moved to 8 and exploded with potential. Option, quite rightly, picked up. – Buzz|
|High: 32||Low: 37||▲ 2||The 16-year-old from El Paso is under contract for 2024 and just received a US U-17 call-up ahead of the U-17 World Cup next month. – Dan|
|High: 29||Low: 33||▼ 3||At this point, he’s just a dude filling up the FCD roster or bench. Outplayed the other center backs at NTX but isn’t in the mix with FCD at this time. – Buzz|
|High: 30||Low: 34||▼ 2||A regular in the midfield for NTX and Haiti. Where does he go from there in 2024? – Dan|
|High: 29||Low: 35||▼ 2||Urzua was showing well and making progress before his injury and missed the last third of the season. – Buzz|
|High: 27||Low: 36||▼ 5||The NTX captain is out of contract – Dan|
|High: 26||Low: 46||▲ 9||Scott was spotted last week at first team training outside running and cutting for the first time since his ACL/MCL double knee blowout. A great sign. – Buzz|
|High: 22||Low: 38||▼ 3||Parker didn’t even make the game-day roster for San Antonio’s first-round match of the USCL-C playoffs. – Dan|
|High: 39||Low: 45||▲ 6||Young Argentine forward joined North Texas SC late in the season. Just 186 minutes of PT (6 games, 1 start) but no goals. – Buzz|
|High: 40||Low: 44||▲ 4||Finished the season off well with his first NTX minutes of the year, a couple of games later Lacy had 90 minutes and an assist against Houston 2, and then came the first team training invite. – Dan|
|High: 41||Low: 41||— 0||After playing most of the season on an amateur contract, the younger Pepi signed a pro deal late in the season. (12 games, 0 starts, 1 goal) – Buzz|
|High: 42||Low: 42||— 0||Finished out the MLS NEXT Pro season with two starts and a first-team training invite. – Dan|
|High: 32||Low: 43||▼ 7||Played 2nd most minutes at NTX (2,279) and was the best of the foreign loan players but that’s not saying much. Loan option declined. – Buzz|
|High: 44||Low: 44||— 0||The American-born 17-year-old featured against FC Dallas in the Dallas Cup earlier in the year before signing earlier in the month. – Dan|
|High: 37||Low: 45||▼ 7||20 games, 10 starts. Had some moments but also injured a bit. But he wasn’t much better than the 16-year-olds. Option declined. – Buzz|
|High: 34||Low: 46||▼ 6||Largely made sub-appearances since the last ranking. NTX declined his option. – Dan|
|High: 33||Low: 47||▼ 8||He had some moments and was looking improved but yet his minutes and games declined from last season. Time to move on. Option declined. – Buzz|
|High: 36||Low: 48||▼ 7||Didn’t feature at all in the last five games to end Caicedo’s loan. – Dan|
|High: 35||Low: 49||▼ 7||His presence on the field actively made the team worse. Should have been cut months ago. Loan ended. – Buzz|
|High: 43||Low: 50||▼ 7||The Irishman was a practice player, sitting on the bench in both MLS and MLS NEXT Pro, before his option was declined. – Dan|
|High: 47||Low: 51||▼ 4||Signed late, never played, option not picked up. – Buzz|
There you have it, Asier Illarramendi takes the top spot on the back of an incredible start to life at FC Dallas. Maarten Paes‘ MVP-caliber performances also propelled the Dutchman above Jesus Ferreira. The FC Dallas main man Ferreira got absolutely raked over the coals by the MLS 360 crew at the weekend over his tendency to drift out wide to try and help plays along leaving no one to finish them.
Tarik Scott is the big winner this time round, returning to training and showing great progress in his comeback. The young forward jumps up nine places in the order.
Dante Sealy wasn’t too far behind, up eight spots after making ten appearances since returning from a difficult loan in the Netherlands.
On the other end, several North Texas SC players saw options declined which pushed them down the order, but it’s three FC Dallas players racking up the biggest losses.
Sebastian Lletget and Geovane Jesus both saw their seasons end early through injury to drop them eleven and ten places respectively. Facundo Quignon also drops ten after seeing his minutes start to dry up with Paxton Pomykal‘s return to form alongside Illarramendi. The Argentine midfielder has also been mysteriously absent the past two weeks with no explanation from FC Dallas. You may recall he’s disappeared before which just adds to the intrigue why the team hasn’t put a label on the absence.
Now on to the playoffs!