After two and a half years away, the Mesquite Outlaws have returned from hiatus and are back in action in the Major Arena Soccer League. Despite their inaugural season being shortened by the pandemic – and then losing two subsequent seasons – the Outlaws have survived and are back with a very different look.
This year’s Outlaws side looks more like last year’s Sidekicks than it does the original Mesquite squad, with twelve of Dallas’s previous roster joining Mesquite for 2022-2023 under the leadership of Tatu, Sagu, and Nick Stavrou.
Leading the new signings is forward Luiz Morales, who scored 23 goals with 8 assists for last season’s Sidekicks, en route to the league Rookie of the Year title. Joining him up front are the versatile attacking duo of Axel Chakounte and Victor Almendariz.
Tatu has particularly loaded up with ex-Dallas midfielders. Sebastian Mendez, who scored 14 goals with 3 assists last season, David Ortiz, with 8 goals and 6 assists, Erik Macias, with 3 goals and 5 assists, and Brenden Lee, with 3 goals, all join Mesquite along with fellow former Sidekick Darren Mitchell to form their new midfield core.
In defense, Stephen Gonzales, Josemaria Oteze, and Jonathan Cisneros join to form an experienced defensive line. Joining the trio is Pablo Da Silva, who spent last season with the Sidekicks not as a player, but as their head coach for their first 3 games. Da Silva brings with him the most indoor experience of anyone on the roster, making his debut with Milwaukee in 2010, before the MASL was formed.
Two new names join Mesquite from elsewhere in the MASL. Midfielder Jorge Deleon scored 16 goals with 8 assists for Ontario last season. His previous teammate, defender Emmanuel Aguirre, comes to Mesquite with him. Both have several seasons of experience in the MASL.
The Outlaws have also signed four rookies from the local lower league ranks for the season. Midfielders Steven Chavez and Seth Mcclain, along with defenders Isaias Emmanuel Robles and Suriel Arauz, have all featured among the Metroplex’s UPSL, NPSL, and MPL sides.
In goal, Mesquite has brought back their original starting keeper Eduardo “Pollo” Cortes. Prior to joining Mesquite, Pollo went pro with Saint Louis FC in USL, spent a season as FC Dallas’s 3rd keeper, and won the 2019 USL League One championship with North Texas SC. Backing up Pollo is rookie signing Juan Vences Lujano, signed through local tryouts and a former managing director in the IT world.
Only four players – Brenden Lee, Josemaria Oteze, Jorge Deleon, and Pollo Cortes – return from the inaugural Outlaws squad, and yet, the new-look Mesquite have opened their return campaign with a 2-1 win over Monterrey.
Mesquite’s season continues tomorrow – Saturday, December 10 – hosting the Kansas City Comets at Mesquite Arena. The first match between the Outlaws and Sidekicks is scheduled for Thursday, December 29, at the Allen Event Center.