We complained a lot in these parts about the problems in roster construction heading into 2021. Without even getting into questions of talent and just looking at pure positional usage there were some problems. We talked about imbalance and missing pieces till we were blue in the face.
Now with the release of some players, there are even more gaps.
So just what are the positions of need for FC Dallas?
Let’s break it down.
Keep in mind, Nico Estevez is a 4-3-3 guy (see USMNT), or maybe 4-2-3-1, so we’ll vaguely use that shape. It fits the organization anyway.
We’ll also assume the sale of Ricardo Pepi and Justin Che as well as the continued loans of Thomas Roberts, Dante Sealy, and Collin Smith just to underscore the scale of pieces that are needed.
Keep in mind, this is not a discussion on how you make this club better and win more games. These are just the basic open roster spots. For how FCD can get better, read this.
If the club ends up keeping Pepi, that too will help it improve.
Center Forward – Want 3, Have 2
If Ricardo Pepi is indeed sold, then the best bet for a 9 around here is Jesus Ferreira. So for now we’ll list him here with the caveat the new coach might want him back as the 10 again with a new top tier 9 being signed. Franco Jara is also around as a depth piece with solid numbers in that role.
Either way, FCD is missing is one reserve style 9. Someone young, perhaps with some pace to complement/contrast Jara. Even if they keep Pepi or sign a new badass 9, you would still want a 3rd striker because, in that case, Jesus will stay in as a mid’ish player.
Left Wing – Want 2, Have 2
Szabolcs Schön is the best-looking option at this point. We’ll get to Paxton later. Kalil ElMedkhar looks promising but is still developing. Kalil has gotten some MLS minutes so that fills the 2 spots given FCD has some dudes who can fill in here.
Right Wing – Want 2, Have 1
Jáder Obrian is the only choice for now. Need a piece to challenge him. Dante Sealy would fit that mold, but we have to assume he’s gone for good.
Free 8/10 – Want 2, Have 1
With Pepi out and Ferreira up top, that leaves just Paxton Pomykal here in our book as we think he needs to be back in the middle. That is if it’s a 4-3-3 with a double eight that we understand is the coach’s preference. Also, we assume Thomas Roberts doesn’t return.
So this is a need spot unless Jesus stays in here and the team gets a 2nd new 9… or keeps Pepi.
Linking 8 – Want 2, Have 2+
Easy one here, Brandon Servania was good enough for FC Dallas to dump Bryan Acosta. Behind him is Nicky Hernandez who remains a project and may play for NTX a lot again. But they also have Paxton and Twumasi who can fill in. And Blaine Ferri is looking good at North Texas.
Holding Mid – Want 2, Have 2
Facundo Quignon and Edwin Cerrillo have these two spots filled.
Whether or not the top choice Quignon is playing up to that salary or is good enough to challenge the top of this league remains to be seen. We’re talking pieces/bodies here.
Left Back – Want 2, Have 1
Ryan Hollingshead is the guy still but is getting older.
Johnny Nelson has a big injury and his contract wasn’t picked up. So we can’t count on him. Eddie Munjoma has played here some with Academy and North Texas but we can’t pencil him in here either although he is a roster depth piece.
Center Back – Want 5, Have 3
Jose Martinez, Matt Hedges, and Noksi Tafari are all in place. But in our book, you need 5 center backs.
I’d like to see one veteran backup and one youthful draft pick or homegrown type player.
Right Back – Want 2, Have 2
Ema Twumasi and Eddie Munjoma. That one is pretty much in place.
Goalkeeper – Want 3, Have 1
Jimmy Maurer is the man, but after that… nothing.
Phelipe is gone and Kyle Zobeck‘s contract ran out with FCD then saying things in their media about this run with the club being over. We’ll see if that’s true. I wouldn’t mind him as 3rd keeper again.
But technically, FCD needs two keepers.
Richard Sanchez was with North Texas last year, perhaps for this very reason. It’s probably too soon to see Academy GK standout Antonio Carrera above the North Texas SC level.
Extras – Want 3 to 5, Have 1
Beni Redzic right now is the only extra piece floating around. He was injured pretty much all of 2021. He hardly had any time with either North Texas SC or FCD. He’s mostly a (false) left wing.
But there is room for some extra overload. Two more players if the club wants to carry 28, Four more if they go with 30. It’s ok to carry a few more pieces in some positions. Perhaps they might hold open spots for Thomas Roberts and Dante Sealy, should they return.
But mostly, look for the extra spots to be filled by a move-down effect as the club looks to improve some positions. If the club signs a top tier left wing for example that would shift ElMedkhar down to extra.
Kevin Bonilla, who started two seasons for North Texas and just finished his first season at Portland in college might make a nice Homegrown. He can left back a bit too, like Munjoma.
Where does that leave us?
1 center forward
1 right wing
1 left back
2 center backs
2 to 4 extra pieces
That’s 10 to 12 players that need to be added between signings, loans, buys, drafts, and homegrowns.