What’s missing? FC Dallas roster construction for 2024

For several years now, I’ve been using the same roster construction method. The idea is to break down the roster by positions to see what FC Dallas has and what they need as they begin building for the next season. This is about positions and roles, not mechanics and money.

We will check back a couple of times this winter to see how they are doing.

At its core, the roster construction has 2 players per position with 3rd striker, a 3rd keeper, a 5th center back, and 5 “whatever you want” spots. All that equals 30 players. This roster layout has worked in predictive terms for years now.

This first version will be more long-winded as we talk through the bodies and holes. If you don’t want to read the why you can skip to the bottom.

Striker – 9

One star and a couple of dudes.

Need 3, have… it’s complicated.

1. Jesus Ferreira – the only question here is, do they keep Ferreira at the 9 or move him to another position as I have suggested and target a DP 9? Until proven otherwise, JF’s a 9.

2. Jesus Jimenez – I still think they should buy Jimenez out. TD Andre Zanotta gave me a non-answer when I asked. They better buy him out.

3. Jose Mulato – I’m not yet sold on this young player but for now, he’s the 3rd guy.

Extra: Kind of? Eugene Ansah could be listed here. Could FCD buy out JJ and put Ansah in his spot or would FCD go for a new reserve 9.

As I said, a little complicated at this stage. We need clarity that some moves will provide.

Wing – 7 & 11

Traditionally, I would divide this into right and left with two players for each side. But FCD flip-flops their wings a lot even in the run of play. So we’ll say…

Need 4, have 6 or more.

1. Paul Arriola – As team captain with a DP-level salary he tops the list. Needs to regain his form for Dallas to rise up the table.

2. Eugene Ansah – He can play some 9 but for now he’s played more wing so he stays wing in our build.

3. Bernard Kamungo – The young US U23 from Tanzania is looking to move into that starting role in 2024.

4. Enes Sali – As a U22 initiative, this is a buy-young investment for a payoff down the line. This is not an instant-impact signing. He is an investment signing. Be patient.

Extra: Dante Sealy & Tarik Scott – Sealy saw more minutes than we might have expected in the back end of 2023. The young HG Scott is coming off an ACL/MCL knee injury. He remains one for the future.

Bonuses: Obviously, Alan Velasco could be penciled in here but will miss at least half of, if not all, 2024. Jesus Ferreira, Sebastian Lletget, and even Paxton Pomykal have played some wing at FCD. Herbert Endeley as well as Sam Junqua can also help out.

Central Mid – 8

No one uses a pure 10 anymore, not even FCD. So we lump them together with the linking-8s.

Need 4, have 4.

1. Alan Velasco – I wanted to put him on season-ending IR, Andre Zanotta said “lol no.”

2. Sebastian Lletget – Had a poor 2023 with injury and life chaos. FCD needs him to be better.

3. Paxton Pomykal – When he’s healthy he’s solid. Needs to get more goals and assists. Pomykal can’t start 34 games.

4. Tsiki Ntsabeleng – I was a bit surprised FCD picked up his option. He’s cheap I guess. But that international status is a pill.

Holding Mid – 6

Between declining Facundo Quignon’s contract and the choices in the XI down the stretch, we think there’s a new first choice holding mid for Los Toros.

Need 2, have 2.

1. Asier Illarramendi – With Facu gone, and indicated clearly via selection down the stretch run, Illarra is the new lead 6 in these parts. I would prefer him to 8 and FCD sign a 6. But for now, it seems to be him.

2. Liam Fraser – Solid, hard-working, mentally tough. Can start and hold up. Solid roster piece.

Left Back – 4

Yes, I know many of you like the British 3 at left back. It’s my list and at FCD left back is 4 (Paul Broome, Chris Gbandi, Marco Farfan).

Need 2, have 3.

1. Marco Farfan – Above average performer. Better defense than offense. Reliable. For two seasons now FCD has overworked him. He needs to play less for workload management reasons.

2. Sam Junqua – Maybe the best signing of 2023. Versatile and can play all over the field. Amazing teammate and roster piece.

Extra: Isaiah Parker. You can be forgiven for forgetting this kid was an FCD player. Spent the season at San Antonio FC, which didn’t go as planned. Made some starts, got hurt, and never regained his starting spot (in part because SAFC swapped to a 3-man back line).

Center Back – 3/5

This is a spot that needs an extra player on the roster anyway and needs the most work right now.

Need 5, have 3

1. Nkosi Tafari – Defensive leader with an explosive 2023. One more step puts him in with the elite center backs in MLS. Can play either side.

2. TAM Signing – FC Dallas needs to buy a TAM player for this spot, maybe even 4th DP here if the league goes that way. A player who can pass and build out, preferably a left-sided player so Tafari can play more on the right.

3. Sebastien Ibeagha – He had a great 2023, much better than I expected. But he’s going on 32 and we’d like him to be the 3rd CB and sometimes starter rather than 2nd and a full-time starter.

4. Nolan Norris. We’ve seen the young homegrown play left back, center back, 6, and 8. But for now, I’m going to pencil him in at CB till we see what else FCD does.

5. Draft Pick – There are a couple of interesting potential Homegrown center backs in the college ranks but I don’t think any of them are Grade A Ready so grab a pick instead. Preferably not one who is 26 already. Maybe Wake’s Garrison Tubbs, although he’s Atlanta United Homegrown eligible.

Right Back – 2

FCD had a boatload of right backs last year and has trimmed one piece, although not in the way I expected.

Need 2, have 3.

1. Ema Twumasi – Solid day-to-day grinder he’s better defensively than the other options.

2. Herbert Endeley – A college wing who is still working on the transition to defender.

Extra: Geovane Jesus. Wait, why is Geovane the extra player, you ask? Cause he’s going to miss a big chunk of the season with the ACL tear. For now, I’m placing him in the (new for 2023) 31st roster spot. He will have to be “activated” to play midseason. That’s a then problem.

Goalkeeper – 1

The change at this spot tells us more about the former number three than the now-missing number two.

Need 3, have 2.

1. Maarten Paes – One of the best keepers in MLS. Hope he sticks around for a few years.

2. Antonio Carrera – The club declining Jimmy Maurer’s contract tells us as much about what the club thinks of Carrera, possibly, as it does Maurer. Is Carrera ready to be the number 2?

3. Homegrown or Vet – Go after Julian Esystone. Hard. Former FCD Academy keeper and Duke Freshman who is likely one-and-done. Get him signed. If they miss on Eyestone, FCD will need to find a journeyman backup. Swing back to Maurer, maybe, or go for someone else.

The Whole Enchilada

Here’s what it looks like in simplified table form.

Roster #PositionPlayerNotes
19Jesus FerreiraYoung DP
29Jesus JimenezInt 1. Buyout, please.
39Jose MulatoInt 2.
4WingPaul ArriolaDP. Captain.
5WingEugene AnsahInt 3.
6WingBernard Kamungo
7WingEnes SaliU22 Initative, Int 4.
8Free-8Sebastian Lletget
9Free-8Alan VelascoYoung DP, Int 5. No IR, Zanotta says.
10Linking-8Paxton Pomykal
11Linking-8Tsiki NtsabelengInt 6.
126Asier IllarramendiInt 7.
136Liam FraserCanadian HG so not an Int.
14LBMarco Farfan
15LBSam Junqua
16CBNkosi Tafari
17CBTAM signing4th DP?
18CBSebastien Ibeagha
19CBNolan NorrisHG.
20CBDraft Pick
21RBEma Twumasi
22RBHerbert Endeley
23GKMaarten PaesInt 8.
24GKAntonio Carrera
25GKHG or VetJulian Eyestone, please.
26Extra 1Isaiah ParkerLeft back/wing. GA.
27Extra 2Tarik ScottWing/9. HG.
28Extra 3Dante SealyWing.
29Extra 4Leave open?FCD hasn’t used the 19th and 20th senior spots in years…
30Extra 5Leave open?Might that change in 2024?
3131st playerGeovane JesusU22 Initative, Int 9.

FCD can make some moves here. Trades, sales, buyouts. Or they can just waive players. If nothing else they need to clear an international spot or trade for one, pending a new green card for someone.

They have less work to do than some years in the basics of roster building but we’d still like to see some action that makes the team better.

They do want to get better right?


  1. This is depressing right? Just signing a CB wont change this team enough to drastically impact our standing. Will this be another season of regression by stagnating?

  2. Any particular reason why this roster fits a 4-3-3 better than a 4-2-3-1? Especially if you want to use Jesus as a #10 (or if you think that’s where Velasco makes the biggest impact).

    1. I’m not sure it does. But this coach prefers a 4-3-3.
      I like Illarramendi better in a double. If Velasco is one of the 8s that leads to a double.
      But without him it’s more likely to be straight 4-3-3.

  3. 1 I really enjoyed Twumasi’s play last year. I thought he brought a lot of hustle and energy to a team that had a tendency to be very stagnant.

    2 pending other roster moves; I’d be interested to see what their offense looked like with Ferreira as a 10/false 9 kinda player and let Bernie be a sort of poach & press 9. I know he’s still raw, but that pairing could let Kamungo use his best skill set to finish attacks while letting Ferreira be the main hub of the offense and let that end of the game run through him. Any chance they might try that setup?

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