Let’s get nutty – a 2024 FC Dallas Dreamscape

I’m going to tell you right up front that this article is completely ridiculous. 

Don’t take it too seriously.

But for giggles, let’s pretend that Dan Hunt woke up this morning and while getting ready to watch the MLS Cup he said to himself, “Hey, I’m a billionaire, let’s do this!” and decided to make FC Dallas into his “money is no object” toy.

Side note: Dan Hunt is, by the way, a billionaire.  According to Forbes the “Hunt Family” that owns the chiefs, of which Dan and Clark are 1/4 each, have a combined wealth of over $20 billion. So really Los Toros is owned by TWO billionaires  I mention Dan as he is the one who runs FC Dallas Burn day to day.

This morning, while I was waiting for MLS Cup, I thought it would be fun to consider what would happen if Dan (and Clark too) took the reins off and cut loose.

It won’t ever happen, tigers don’t change their stripes. But it’s fun to think about. So yes, I’m going to be ridiculous here, utterly, and completely ridiculous.

But you guys know me, I’m still going to restrain myself in a couple of ways and keep it real.  You know I got to keep it grounded in reality even when I’m being nutty. So no “I buy Jude Bellingham.”

Here are the rules for this space.

1. FCD plays in MLS and that means we follow MLS rules.
2. I’m keeping Nico Estevez as coach cause he is the coach.
3. That means 4-3-3 as it’s the Coach’s preferred formation and I’ll use his kind of player types.
4. I’m starting with the roster as it exists today with its problems.
5. I’ll use Transfermarkt for buy prices. Just to keep prices grounded on, well, something.
6. It’s still Dan Hunt doing the buying.  I’m pretending to be him.

Let’s go.

Move 1: Prepping for Overhaul

If I’m going to spend big, I need to clear the deck even more than we have already.

That means clearing some DPs.  Currently FCD has Paul Arriola, Jesus Ferreira, and Alan Velasco as DPs. Plus Jesus Jimenez, Sebastian Lletget, and Paxton Pomykal are all over the DP threshold requiring a TAM/GAM buydown.

Here are my steps. This might, in part, sound kind of familiar.

  • Keep Jesus Ferreira but I’m moving him to wing.
  • Put Alan Velasco on season-ending IR to clear a DP spot, cap, and Int spot.
  • Buy out Jesus Jimenez to clear cap and Int spot. (duh)
  • Trade Paul Arriola to his hometown club San Diego FC for some TAM/GAM.
    (Yes, a year early so they don’t miss out on him. They can loan him somewhere for one season.)
  • Trade Sebastian Lletget to LA Galaxy for TAM/GAM.
  • Jose Martinez and Facundo Quignon are already gone for more cap and buydown room.

These moves open up 2 DP spots, 4 international spots, and 4 TAM/GAM spots, give or take. Now I’ve got room to operate.

Move 2: Upgrade Center Back

FCD needs a starting CB. A big one.

I buy Chris Richards for $11 million. He’s DP 2 after Ferreira.

Yes, I’m buying a player FCD once sold. But Chris is finding it hard to break in at Palace and I will have to overpay him some to come back home.

Richards also isn’t left-footed but a Nkosi Tafari & Chris Richards CB combo I can work with.  Sebastien Ibeagha as the 3rd is fine.

Move 3: A Nine Change

Alan Velasco is out for the year and I have one more open DP spot cause I put him on season-ending IR. 

I love me some Bernie Kamungo, so he’s slotted in at right wing (switch foot!) and I’m moving Jesus Ferreira to (mostly) left wing. Or if you don’t like switch-foot wings, flip ’em. Ferreira might also play some 10, false-9, and free-8. So wing is fine. Tactics are fluid.

FCD needs to add about 15 goals. So clearly having moved Ferreira in the XI, I need a legit 9.

First, I call Inter Miami and see if I can get the other Leo, Leonardo Campana.  He’s on a great value contract for his ability and upside. I love this striker, he’s my first choice. Miami is getting Luis Suarez so they may need to dump Campana.

But I admit that’s a long shot.

If not Campana, then I make Andre Zanotta get on the phone and get Federico Viñas from Leon.

The 25-year-old Viñas is a former Uruguayan U23 with 1 senior cap. Transfmrkt has him at $1.6 mil but I don’t believe that for a second as Leon bought him for about $3.7 mil this summer. Since then he’s scored 8 goals in 16 games.

So I might have to pay $6+ mil for him. But I do it.

Move 4: Upgrade the 6

I only have TAM/GAM moves left. That means I want to try and get players I don’t have to pay for. Although I still can buy, if I need to.

So I call Kellyn Acosta who, as of the end of today’s MLS Cup, is a free agent.  He might not be super cheap but I bet he can be had for under the TAM/GAM buy-down number.  

He’s an FC Dallas Academy legend. Since this is fantasyland, KA accepts the offer, and in his signing press conference, he talks about coming home with his family.

Hearts melt.

Move 5: Replacing Velasco on the Pitch

I need to replace Alan Velasco on the field but I don’t need someone to fill this void at free-8 forever, just one season. But no one wants a one-season deal.

So I call up the recently mutually terminated contract, 33-year-old Mauricio Pereyra, and offer him two more seasons at his current $675k.  That’s a number I can buy down both seasons.

But wait, a 33 year old?

Yes, because I don’t need him very long as Velasco will be back, eventually. Pereyra’s coming off 12 assists in a 31-game season. In a little over 4 seasons in Orlando, he had 45 assists in 114 games. I don’t need him to be a DP, or play 34 games, just be a solid contributor as a TAM/GAM.

In my model Asier Illarramendi is my linking 8.

Yes, it makes my central-mid pair a bit old, but this is a Nico Estevez team. I still have Paxton Pomykal & Tsiki Ntsabeleng on the bench.  Pomykal will start 15+ games in rotations.

I do need a body to replace Sebastian Lletget but I can find someone mid-career role player for my squad who can start if necessary. I can always start Liam Fraser in there too. Maybe I’ll draft or sign a Homegrown for the future as well. 

Anything Else?

Not really.

A Jesus Jimenez backup 9 replacement is already on the roster in Eugene Ansah.  Plus Jose Mulato. Tarik Scott is back to fitness and he can 9.

At wing, I still have Dante Sealy, new signing Enes Sali, Scott, and some more Ansah.  Herbert Endeley if I need to. If I have enough money, I call up Jader Obrian. Especially if he gets a green card.

I would still need to draft a center back.

How Did I Do?

Here’s my starting XI…

3rd Degree's Fantasyland XI for a Dreamscape 2024.
3rd Degree’s Fantasyland XI for a Dreamscape 2024.

Key Bench Players:
Paxton Pomykal
Eugene Ansah
Liam Fraser
Ema Twumasi
Sam Junqua
Sebas Ibeagha
Jader Obrian

Someone get Dan Hunt on the phone.


  1. It’s a much better team than we ended the season with. I really like trading Sebastian and Paul. There should be consequences for two horrible seasons.

  2. Other than playing by rule #1 which I think is a fake rule. Re: How does Miami sign all of these players within the MLS player acquisition structure and also stay under the cap?

    1. They planed ahead for multiple years and cleared a bunch of cap and DP spots.
      Then after they get Messi, they got players to come play for them for less then they would for anyone else just to play with Messi.

      1. Are allocation order and discovery process is no longer a thing in the league? I get the cap, as that seems more or less fictional with GAM/TAM and other devices that can buy down contracts to get them within the framework of cap.

        I would like to some day see a device in place that allows home grown to come back home w/o the developing team having to bend over backwards to appease other teams that are interested in those players. Looking to a Dallas reunion team in 2028.

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