Top 5 number 20s in FC Dallas history

As a follow up to our 25th season celebration series naming the top 5 players by position in FCD franchise history, I started a Top 5 FCD Players by Number series.

The 20. The number of high strikers equivalent to the 9.

The 20 was made famous by the late Paolo Rossi in 1982 when he led Italy to the FIFA World Cup title, scoring six goals to win the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball wearing the number.

Around these parts, we think numbers are important, and I had the idea that – if the season didn’t restart – it might be fun to spin the Top 5s a bit and do a Top 5 Players by Number series. Of course, the season did restart so the idea went on the back burner… until now.

Disclaimer: The 25th Season Top 5 Player lists were voted on by a committee. These Top 5 Player by Number lists are just mine. So come at me, bro!

Top 5 FCD Number 20s

What a list, there’s some serious talent at the 20. One of the deepest number lists I’ve done.

I bet there’s some controversy in this one too.

RankNameNotes
1Ariel GrazianiOur committee voted Graziani the #2 High Striker in club history but he was #1 on my card and is number one in my 20 jersey list because he was in peak form when he arrived, through his time in Dallas, and when he departed. A tough player to coach – His two and a half seasons in Dallas was the longest stop in his career – Graziani is the best pure goal scorer and prototypical 9 the team has ever had (53.9% shot on goal ratio, best in club history).  Dallas numbers including playoffs: 68 games, 67 starts, 35 goals, and 18 assists. 2000 Burn MVP, 2001 Burn Golden Boot. He was also our #3 All-Time Club Villain
2Carlos RuizVoted the #1 High Striker in club history and #1 Villian, Ruiz spent three peak club Golden Boot seasons in Dallas wearing the 20 but started to fade by the end of the final year.  FCD numbers in the 20 including playoffs: 74 games, 67 starts, 36 goals, and 9 assists. Ruiz’s accomplishments on the league level are even bigger but most of that was before Dallas. He did win the MLS Goal of the Decade award for his bicycle kick against DC United in 2005. Ruiz was named an MLS All-Star in 2005 and 2006 but never club MVP. His production fell off fast from 2007 on.
3Brek SheaWhile he’s not a high-striker, Shea was still a fantastic attacking talent in his FCD days. His career trajectory didn’t go as expected but his numbers in Dallas are amazing.  Including playoffs: 111 games, 90 starts, 24 goals, and 18 assists over 5 seasons from the wide midfield or wing position. He was part of the 2010 MLS Cup run and was a legit MLS MVP candidate in 2011 with 11 goals and 4 assists. Shea was an exciting, charismatic talent and fan favorite and still plays in MLS today.
4Roland LamahIt actually pisses me off that Lamah is on this list as I consider him a trash player. In so many ways his presence on the field made Dallas worse, but the pure numbers can’t be ignored. There were times two or three times Lamah won games for the team, but that may not be more than he lost through poor team play and lackadaisical defense.  Dallas numbers – which tellingly include no playoffs – 61 games, 50 starts, 19 goals, and 9 assists. FCD in the end couldn’t get rid of him fast enough.
5Ronald CerritosEffectively Graziani’s replacement, Cerritos spent a season and a half of his 10 year MLS career in Dallas but didn’t have the same production that he did in San Jose. Unfortunately for Cerritos, his time with the Burn was part of the Southlake Debacle and as part of the panic, he was traded to DC United mid-2003 for Ali Curtis and a pick. Dallas numbers including playoffs: 38 games, 20 starts, 7 goals, and 7 assists.

Two players just missing out on the top 5 are Mickey Trotman and Jimmy Maurer.

Trotman was the 3rd Burn striker behind Graziani and Kreis in ’98 and ’99 (29 games, 20 starts, 6 goals, 5 assists). Trotman was tragically killed in a car accident at the age of 26.

Maurer has worn 20 for two seasons after wearing the 14 in 2017 and 2018. It was his remarkable 2020 – his first as the full-time starter – that almost got him into the Top 5 20s as he led MLS with an 0.84 goals against average and a 79.4 save percentage. The season being just 16 + 2 games long was a knock against his inclusion at this stage.

What’s your list look like?

#20 – All-Time FCD Roster

Jimmy Maurer2019 to Current
Roland Lamah2017 to 2018
Juan Esteban Ortiz2016
Rolando Escobar2015
Hendry Thomas2014
Mauro Diaz2013
Brek Shea2008 to 2012
Carlos Ruiz2005 to 2007
Clarence Goodson2004
Ronald Cerritos2002 to 2003
Ariel GrazianiEnd 1999 to 2001
Mickey Trotman1998 to Mid 1999
Dan Stebbins1997

Up next?

21.

Which just saw a big departure.

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