2013 FC Dallas Preview: Ferreira's health is everything
2012 record: 9-13-12 (39 points); 42 GF / 47 GA (-5 GD)
Over the next two weeks, MLSsoccer.com will preview each of the 19 teams in Major League Soccer, beginning with the clubs that brought up the bottom of the table in 2012 and ending with the Supporters' Shield-winning San Jose Earthquakes. This is part one of two previewing FC Dallas' 2013 season. You can find Part 2 here.
Setting the Scene
2013 is a huge year for Schellas Hyndman and an even bigger year for FC Dallas. The 2010 Western Conference Championship is a distant memory and things have trended downward for FCD in the past two seasons due to a number of factors including injuries and fixture congestion.
However, the contract extension of defender George John and additions of Kenny Cooper and Eric Hassli to the Dallas offense mean there are plenty of reason to be optimistic in Frisco. Couple those moves with the full health of 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira and a major turnaround could be in store for Hyndman’s squad.
In and Out
IN: M Peter Luccin (12/10/12 - free); D Stephen Keel (12/14/12 - Re-Entry Draft Stage 2); F Pipico (12/18/12 - transfer from Vasco da Gama); F/M Bradlee Baladez (12/19/12 - Homegrown); D London Woodberry (1/9/13 - Homegrown); GK Raúl Fernández (1/10/13 - free); D Walker Zimmerman (1/17/13 - SuperDraft); F Eric Hassli (2/4/13 - trade from Toronto); F Kenny Cooper (2/4/13 - trade from New York); D Michel(2/19/13 – free); M Je-Vaughn Watson(2/19/13 – trade from Houston)
OUT: M Bryan Leyva (11/7/12 - option declined); M Bruno Guarda (11/7/12 - option declined); F Ruben Luna (11/7/12 - option declined); F Matías Jara (11/7/12 - option declined); GK Kevin Hartman (12/3/12 - out of contract); M Julian de Guzman (12/3/12 - out of contract); F Scott Sealy (12/3/12 - option declined); D Moises Hernandez (1/3/13 - loan to Saprissa); M Ricardo Villar (1/23/13 - waived); M James Marcelin (1/23/13 - waived); M Brek Shea (1/31/13 - transfer to Stoke City); F Pipico (2/4/13 - waived)
COACHING STAFF: Schellas Hyndman enters his sixth season as head coach. Assistant coaches: Marco Ferruzzi, Drew Keeshan.
READ: 2013 FC Dallas Depth Chart
Star Attraction: David Ferreira
Cooper will get the headlines, but this is Ferreira’s show. The 34-year-old Colombian hardly missed a beat upon his return from a 15-month injury spell, racking up two goals and nine assists in 17 games, but it was always 2013 when he could return at full strength. And full strength for Ferreira is scary.
In his last full year in MLS, Ferreira won the Volkswagen MVP award in an eight-goal thirteen-assist season that led FC Dallas to their first MLS Cup. “El Torito” has been awarded the captain’s armband in 2013 by Hyndman and as Ferreira goes, so goes FCD.
Unsung Hero: Andrew Jacobson
Acquired from Philadelphia before the 2011 season, Jacobson earned a spot in the FCD midfield and has held it for the past two years. He had his best professional season yet in 2012 making 31 starts for the club, a career high.
With Dallas moving to a 4-4-2 in 2013, Jacobson’s role on the team will be even more crucial as the Northern California native is set to hold down the defensive midfield spot, be it either in a diamond or more of a flat formation.
Ready for Primetime: Fabián Castillo
The 20-year-old was very quietly one of the league’s best players over the last three months of the season. With Ferreira back in the lineup, Castillo doubled his MLS career scoring tally, grabbing four goals in his last seven starts of 2012.
Blending a combination of raw speed and ability on the ball, Castillo can be absolutely electrifying on his day and with the new attacking talent FC Dallas has on the pitch, the Colombian DP could be set for a breakout 2013 campaign.
Storylines to Watch
1. Goalkeeping battle – Dallas chose not to renew legendary MLS goalkeeper Kevin Hartman’s contract for 2013, instead acquiring Peruvian national team ‘keeper Raúl Fernández. While he was one of the marquee signings of the offseason, returning backup Chris Seitz has stolen the show in preseason with a new found fitness and swagger, leaving the No. 1 goalkeeper race in Frisco wide open.
2. Cooper comes home – The return of local boy Cooper to his hometown club was, without a doubt, the biggest story of the offseason for FCD. Now the question becomes can he come close to replicating his 18-goal season of 2012, during which he finished second in the league in scoring.
3. Wing depth – In Jackson and Castillo, Dallas have two of the most dynamic starting wingers in the league. And after that there is no one. They're is optimistic that draft pick Ryan Hollingshead will join them at some point this year and the recent addition of Brazilian Michel could add some help out wide.
PODCAST: Cooper talks FCD homecoming
What He Said
“Schellas and Fernando [Clavijo] have made me feel very appreciated and as a player I think that’s great to feel. When you feel that sense of appreciation and that people are putting faith in you, you really want to repay it. I’m eager for the games to start and I want to make sure I’m doing the right things every day so I can do well for them.”
– Newly acquired forward Kenny Cooper
If Everything Goes Right
For Dallas the problem was never the defense, it was finding more legitimate scoring options so that one forward doesn’t have to do all the work. Through the sale of Brek Shea, they’ve been able to go out and get just that in Cooper and Hassli.
When you look at the FCD starting XI, it’s a talented squad with experience and one that you’ve got to think can contend for the Western Conference Championship. If the club as a whole can avoid the crippling injuries of a year ago and keep Ferreira fit and pulling the strings, a season near the top of the standings is in store.