FCD/NTX Roster Rankings – August 12, 2021

Who in their right mind would have predicted four unbeaten in a run of games that included the top three in the Western Conference and some noisy upstarts from down ‘the I-35’ who are desperate to gain some relevance by beating their close neighbors?

Well the 50 players contracted to FC Dallas and North Texas SC might have, and we’re going to power rank them as we do every month or so. Naturally, there’s nothing scientific, it’s not a ranking of talent or performance but it’s a mix of those, who is being talked up in the media, and who the fans are talking about.

FCD v Colorado 013
Jimmy Maurer is ready to take on the Colorado Rapids, April 17, 2021. (Matt Visinsky, 3rd Degree)

Starting XI:

1 (+2)Jimmy Maurer
High: 1 | Low: 4
A save in the first two minutes against Austin saved an embarrassing loss. Constant contender for the team of the week. – Dan
2 (+2)Ricardo Pepi
High: 2 | Low: 13
El Tren. Choo choo! Named an MLS All-Star after becoming the youngest hat-trick scorer in MLS history. – Buzz
3 (+6)Facundo Quignon High: 6 | Low: 9Facu has played every minute since we last ranked. Calm on the ball, aggressive without it, and looking the part. – Dan
4 (-2)Ryan Hollingshead
High: 2 | Low: 4
After a couple of defensive lapses, has locked it down in the back and is now performing with more balance.  – Buzz
5 (-)Jesus Ferreira
High: 5 | Low: 16
Two goals and a continued start, but Jesus can be really hit or miss. – Dan
6 (+7)Paxton Pomykal
High: 6 | Low: 22
What a gift having Paxton back is, it’s almost like signing a new player. – Buzz
7 (+8)Nkosi Tafari
High: 7 | Low: 28
Double-digit clearances in three straight games, a couple of game-saving blocks, two assists, and I wrote a feature on Nkosi. – Dan
8 (+4)Szabolcs Schön
High: 8 | Low: 12
His left wing balance to Pomykal on the right gives FCD a complete and even offense for the first time in years. – Buzz
9 (-8)Bryan Acosta
High: 1 | Low: 9
Back from the Gold Cup and Acosta has played off the bench thus far. That could be about to change. – Dan
10 (-4)Matt Hedges
High: 2 | Low: 10
D’GOAT is back in training and looks ready to go. His return should boost the team. – Buzz
11 (-4)Jose Antonio Martinez
High: 5 | Low: 11
The Spaniard is back traveling with the team but can he dislodge Nkosi Tafari? – Dan
Ema Twumasi 2020
Ema Twumasi takes part in FC Dallas training during late 2020. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

In The Mix:

12 (-2)Bressan
High: 5 | Low: 15
Up and down play this season, from early defensive MVP to now maybe being dropped even if he wasn’t suspended. – Buzz
13 (-5)Andres Ricaurte
High: 1 | Low: 13
Grabbed an assist before missing the KC game through suspension. Ricaurte started against Austin but is he good enough to keep the start? – Dan
14 (+6)Edwin Cerrillo
High: 14 | Low: 23
Cerrillo has made some great strides over the last month and is now a legit starting candidate every week. – Buzz
15 (+7)Ema Twumasi
High: 15 | Low: 25
Three straight starts at right back after Che went down, and Ema hasn’t looked like a downgrade at all – particularly on the attacking side. – Dan 
16 (-2)Justin Che
High: 14 | Low: 23
He helped solve FCD’s right back issues but has been out for a bit injured, which opened the door for Twumasi. – Buzz
17 (+2)Franco Jara
High: 7 | Low: 19
Jara hasn’t started in the FC Dallas unbeaten run but he got a crucial injury-time equalizer in Seattle. – Dan
18 (-)Jader Obrian
High: 8 | Low: 18
Pomykal’s emergence moved Obrian to the bench, but late game his change of pace can be effective. Still needs work on tactics and team concepts. – Buzz
19 (+2)Brandon Servania
High: 19 | Low: 22
Brief minutes against Colorado and SKC, but not looking anywhere near a start. – Dan
20 (-3)Phelipe Megiolaro
High: 8 | Low: 20
Back from injury and looking ready to go. But Mauer is holding down the #1 spot. – Buzz
Caiser Gomes with North Texas SC. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

Second Team:

21 (-5)Johnny Nelson
High: 11 | Low: 21
The backline seems to have settled without Nelson. Just one sub appearance since we last ranked. – Dan
22 (+1)Kalil ElMedkhar
High: 20 | Low: 24
Neck and neck with Vargas as the backup left wing. Starting to make a case for some minutes. – Buzz
23 (+1)Dante Sealy
High: 17 | Low: 26
Just made the loan move to PSV, where he’ll play under the great Ruud van Nistelrooy for Jong PSV. – Dan
24 (+1)Freddy Vargas
High: 7 | Low: 25
Shows moments of such promise but isn’t consistent.  Need to see more or he’s going to lose out to ElMedkhar. – Buzz
25 (+8)Caiser Gomes
High: 25 | Low: 46
Got the FC Dallas contract but will be with NTX, especially now Hedges and Martinez are healthy again. – Dan
26 (-)Thomas Roberts
High: 21 | Low: 26
On loan to SK Austria Klagenfurt awaiting his work visa to play. – Buzz
27 (+1)Gibran Rayo
High: 26 | Low: 31
North Texas SC’s best player game after game. – Dan
28 (+6)Kazu
High: 28 | Low: 40
USL-1 Player of the Week a while back and frequent Team of the Week member. He’s got some MLS-level stuff.  Will he make the leap this winter? – Buzz
29 (+1)Imanol Almaguer
High: 29 | Low: 37
If you’re a Patreon subscriber, Buzz did a Burn from training after Ima was a guest player with the first team on Wednesday. – Dan
30 (+1)Bernard Kamungo
High: 30 | Low: 33
A player of such promise with a bright future. He’s become the first choice for NTX. – Buzz
31 (-2)Eddie Munjoma
High: 17 | Low: 31
Eddie has fallen behind Che and Twumasi in the depth chart at right back. Back with North Texas. – Dan
32 (+3)Blaine Ferri
High: 32 | Low: 35
Showing some real class and ability as a game controlling linking mid. Does he still have room to grow? – Buzz
Rio Ramirez
Rio Ramirez turns away from a defender in the Fort Worth Vaqueros game against Tyler FC, May 11, 2019. (Hannah Reinmiller, Fort Worth Vaqueros)

In Reserve:

33 (+13)Rio Ramirez
High: 33 | Low: 48
The former Ft Worth Vaquero has firmly won the starting job at center back, showing some of the qualities that made him captain for the NPSL side. – Dan
34(+2)Mikey Maldonado
High: 34 | Low: 46
Sometimes sub, sometimes starter.  Made a USL-1 Team of the Week.  NTX staff trusts him. – Buzz
35 (+13)Richard Sanchez
High: 35 | Low: 48
The former FCD Homegrown has really battled back to consistently win the gloves. Recorded his first clean sheet of the year last week. – Dan
36 (-4)Nicky Hernandez
High: 17 | Low: 36
Pretty much full-time with NTX now and not an automatic starter for the junior club either. Needs to get back to last year’s dominance if he wants back into the MLS mix. – Buzz
37 (-10)Colin Shutler
High: 27 | Low: 37
The season has really fallen apart for Shutler after getting the FC Dallas loan. – Dan
38 (-1)Beni Redzic
High: 29 | Low: 39
Missed a big chunk of time with his injury but is now close to running again. – Buzz
39 (-1)Alejandro
High: 33 | Low: 41
Still unfortunately injured. – Dan
40 (+4)Derek Waldeck
High: 27 | Low: 44
Captain, leader, and a quality performer in whatever spot he’s filling. – Buzz
41 (+4)Kyle Zobeck
High: 26 | Low: 45
Just doing his thing. – Dan
42 (-1)Alex Bruce
High: 36 | Low: 42
An important squad member and leader but doesn’t always make the 18. – Buzz
43 (-3)Hope Kodzo Avayevu
High: 29 | Low: 43
Only ten minutes played since our last ranking. Hope will just be waiting for an opportunity. – Dan
44 (-1)Collin Smith
High: 40 | Low: 44
Still a long-term project but continues to progress but mostly off the bench. – Buzz
45 (-3)Thibaut Jacquel
High: 23 | Low: 45
Briefly got the start against Union Omaha but missed the games either side. – Dan
46 (-)Mark Salas
High: 46 | Low: 46
Has yet to start but has quickly moved into the 18 after signing. – Buzz
47 (-)Gabriel Morais
High: 47 | Low: 47
Made a 26-minute cameo in Tucson last week shortly after signing. – Dan
48 (-1)Rickson Van Hees
High: 45 | Low: 48
Still just one appearance but not making the 18 anymore. He mutually terminated his contract in the middle of our making this post. – Buzz
49 (-10)Alisson
High: 34 | Low: 49
Alisson has made the bench only once, getting just one minute of playing time, since his debacle game. Quite the contrast to starting virtually every game through June. – Dan
50 (-)Lucão High: 50 | Low: 50His signing was announced but he’s not yet been rostered. – Buzz

With Bryan Acosta dropping off, Jimmy Maurer takes the top spot off the back of a string of fantastic performances that have made him not only an eternal Man of the Match contender but also a contender for the MLS Team of the Week.

This week we’ll sandwich the negative between positives. Two players dropped ten spots this week, both North Texas SC players who’ve fallen off.

SuperDraft pick Colin Shutler should really be the starting GK for NTX if he’s looking to win an MLS contract in time, but since being loaned to the big club, Shutler has been stuck on the bench watching Richard Sanchez play.

Alisson was a nailed-on starter in Eric Quill’s back lineup until right before our last ranking at the start of July. Since then he’s only made one bench, seeing a single minute on the field.

Back to the positives as two players – again with North Texas SC – jump an impressive 13 places in our little list.

Richard Sanchez’s career didn’t seem in the best shape, as an MLS starter who’d gone to playing USL League One back up in two years but the former FCD Homegrown is putting himself back in the shop window after nailing down the starting job.

Rio Ramirez joins Sanchez in the big leap after securing the start at center back. The former Fort Worth Vaqueros right back impressed through open tryouts and is really starting to show some of the qualities that made him a fan favorite across town.

We haven’t had much FC Dallas mention so let’s shine a light on two.

Nkosi Tafari’s incredible performances of late don’t need too much more said about, but his eight-place jump is only held up because of the Pepis and Pomykals who’ve also contributed so much to this run of form.

Caiser Gomes was a long-term invite to first-team training and earned a loan to FC Dallas. While he’s still with North Texas, just filing the loan arrangement is a sign of how highly thought of the former Sporting Lisbon youngster is.

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