You may be shocked to learn that FC Dallas opens training camp for the 2022 season on January 16th. That’s just 13 days from the publication of this post.
So with Thomas Roberts and Dante Sealy still on loan and the sale of Justin Che in the cards; FC Dallas is left with 9-11 open roster spots (5-7 senior roster & 4 supplemental roster), 4 open international slots, 2 open U22 initiative spots, and they will soon have 2 open DP spots.
So, now it’s time to build back up.
We’re going to continue to assume Coach Nico Estevez will go with the 4-3-3 that the USMNT used during this time as an assistant there. Until the first shots of training camp are fired that’s as good a formation assumption as any.
Current Depth Chart
Given the 4-3-3 this is what I got, give or take.
|R. Hollingshead||M. Hedges|
|N. Tafari||E. Twumasi|
Again, I’m assuming Thomas Roberts and Dante Sealy remain on loan and Justin Che is sold. Beni Redžić and Collin Smith should, IMO, spend all of 2022 with North Texas SC so I’m leaving them off the chart.
Most of the Homegrown options I mention below aren’t likely to help FCD all that much in 2022.
In Order of Importance.
And let me also remind you, that the offseason is the time to be absolutely brutal in roster decisions. It’s not someone else’s turn. This ain’t rec soccer.
1. Central Midfield
The club jettisoned Bryan Acosta, presumably, for underperforming. As much as we like the future of Paxton Pomykal and Brandon Servania, asking two twenty-two-year-olds to carry you to MLS Cup is a bit much.
Not to mention the depth issue as you can see in the above chart or health issues of Pomykal. Nicky Hernandez could use more PT at North Texas just maybe not a whole season’s worth. Leave Blaine Ferri at North Texas for now. Do it again, take another step, and he’ll be up.
I think a linking-8 and an attacking-8 should both be high on the club’s list of signings and I would bring in a DP in this area.
Homegrown options: Not really any in college right now although I am watching a few. Diego Hernandez in the Academy I really like. He’s a U17 who plays with the U19s and is their best player. Jared Salazar and Ale Urzua also U17s are both exciting as well.
Jader Obrian put up some pretty big numbers at right wing last year and I’m certainly excited by Szabolcs Schön ability.
But Schön will get called up a fair amount and the only other wingers right now are the unproven Kalil ElMedkhar and Beni Redzic who, as I mentioned, should be with North Texas (particularly after he missed almost all of 2021 due to injury). There’s also no depth on the right at all and I believe leaving Pomykal on the wing would be a mistake.
So FC Dallas should go after a top-flight win to mix in with Schön and Obrian and a backup on the right.
Gibran Rayo deserves a chance in camp to win a backup spot after his strong season at North Texas.
College Homegrown options: Daniel Evans (Kentucky Sr), Jalen James (Campbell Jr), Brayan Padilla (Maryland Sr), and Malik Henry-Scott (Tulsa Fr). The best Academy HG wing options need another year (Tarik Scott, Kevin Kelley, and Anthony Ramirez) or two (Kris Kelley or Malachi Molina).
3. Two Goalkeepers
FC Dallas only has one keeper on the roster, Jimmy Maurer. So they need two more.
The club was today linked on a possible loan move for Spanish keeper Christian Rivero from Valencia, he’s 23.
Maybe Richard Sanchez was with North Texas SC last year as a possible 2nd or 3rd keeper this year? Although I think if that were the case it would have happened by now.
If not those two, then two others. An MLS club should have 3 keepers.
Homegrown options: 6’3″ U19 keeper Antonion Carrera, who we expect to sign, should probably spend all of 2022 starting for North Texas. Maybe he could be your 3rd as that would give the club more options. Julian Eyestone, the 6’6″ U17 keeper needs more time in the Academy but should see NTXSC time soon. keepers.
4. Defensive Depth
Ryan Hollingshead and Ema Twumasi are the presumed starters at outside back but Ryan is long in the tooth and Twumasi is in the final year of his contract. On top of that, depth is a problem right now.
Eddie Munjoma remains on the team and can play either outside back position but he has yet to prove he’s MLS level. So the club should go for a backup piece on both sides. I don’t think Homegrown Collin Smith is ready to fill this need. He needs to stay with North Texas again in 2022.
Outside the box Homegrown idea: Eric Centeno (Pacific Fr) joined FCD for one season (was it even a complete season?) before returning to the Sacramento Republic. He was just named WCC Freshman of the Year for Pacific… Is he even FC Dallas Homegrown eligible? He’d been invited to the MLS College Showcase. He was recruited to play right back but Pacific made him a winger.
There are three starter grade center backs already in Nkosi Tafari, Matt Hedges, and Jose Martinez. So they need two center-backs reserves.
I am a firm believer that due to injuries and other unforeseen issues a team should carry 5 center backs. Perhaps a more veteran backup and a young player from the college ranks. If Justin Che isn’t sold, then Justin is the 4th CB.
If NTXSC brings back Caiser Gomes then that will suffice for the 5th CB cause he can be signed as an emergency player like last year.
If you want to go the Homegrown center back route, Josh Ramsey had a phenomenal season at Notre Dame as a freshman (23 starts, 24 games) earning ACC All-Freshman 1st Team and an ACC title.
5. Third Striker
Moving Jesus Ferreira to the 9 seems an easy choice. Franco Jara can be the primary reserve. But Jara will turn 34 and Ferreira will likely get more USMNT call ups.
So FC Dallas needs a third striker. Perhaps someone on the younger side like a Homegrown from the Academy or college or perhaps a foreign signing like they often target from South America.
Maybe take a flyer on former Academy and NTX product Ronaldo Damus who just won a title with Orange County in the USL Championship?
Homegrown options: Not much right now other than Reed Berry (Oral Roberts Jr) and he was a premier player (can premier be Homegrown? I need to ask). Academy standouts Nighte Pickering and Nayrobi Vargas both need more time.
I hope FC Dallas will go ahead and use the third DP signing. The question is where?
I already made one suggestion of central midfield above.
Wing is a high-profile position and the most likely where a DP-type signing might do some serious good. The Dallas offense was fine last year but Ricardo Pepi is going, going, gone. Ferreira can solve the 9 position and Schön is quality, but a top-tier wing can go a long way.
2. Holding mid.
My personal choice would be at the 6. Yes, they have two holding mids in Facundo Quignon and Edwin Cerrillo. Right his minute I would rate Cerrillo over Faco with the understanding the latter was injured in late 2021 and might still rise up.
But I think that holding mid is one of the most important positions in the team. It’s no coincidence that the club won Supporters Shields and Open Cups when Carlos Gruezo was here. I wouldn’t mind a world-beater in this spot.
Sell Faco for whatever you can get and splash on a stud. Bring back Gruezo!!
3. Center back.
Center back is the sleeper. Nkosi Tafari is a legit MLS caliber starter. But Jose Martinez, perhaps due to injuries, undelivered, and Matt Hedges, the defensive GOAT of this franchise, will be 32 in April and also struggled with injuries.
A Reto Ziegler level signing wouldn’t be amiss, although, to be fair, I think that’s what Martinez was supposed to be and time may yet tell. I’m mostly willing to take a wait-and-see attitude on Martinez but the club may not agree.
All of which would leave us something like this.
|30 Man Roster||Position||Who|
|3||9||Young Player (Ronaldo Damus?)|
|15||LB||Signing, Draftee, or Homegrown|
|19||CB||Vet Reserve Signing (Or Justin Che)|
|20||CB||Young Signing or Draftee (free spot if Gomes at NTX)|
|22||RB||Signing or Draftee (Kevin Bonilla?)|
|25||GK||Signing (Antonio Carrera?)|
|28||Extra||Another wing (Girban Rayo or U22 int. player?)|
|29||Extra||Homegrown or Leave open for returning loans?|
|30||Extra||Leave open for returning loans?|
|31||Out on Loan||Thomas Roberts|
|32||Out on Loan||Dante Sealy|
|33||North Texas Loan||Collin Smith|
|34||Pending Sale?||Justin Che|
|35||North Texas Loan||Antonio Carrera?|
|36||North Texas Loan||Beni Redzic|