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 two of two previewing FC Dallas' 2013 season. You can find Part 1 here.
2012 record: 9-13-12 (39 points); 42 GF / 47 GA (-5 GD)
Depth Chart: 1. Chris Seitz, 2. Raúl Fernández, 3. Richard Sánchez
Strengths: FC Dallas are quite young and very competitive at the goalkeeping position. It’s more like options "1a" and "1b" right now in Seitz and Fernández as both will battle right up until opening day to earn the nod against Colorado.
Weaknesses: Despite his strong preseason, Seitz has had some well-documented struggles as a starter in MLS.
Wild card: Sánchez could be gone for much of large chunks of the season thanks to his starting job with the Mexico U-20 national team, but when he returns from the U-20 World Cup in August (assuming Mexico qualifiy), the starlet could be pushing both Seitz and Fernández.
Depth Chart: RB 1. Zach Loyd, 2. London Woodberry, 3. Kellyn Acosta; CB: 1. George John, 2. Matt Hedges, 3. Stephen Keel, 4. Walker Zimmerman; LB: 1. Jair Benítez, 2. Michel
Strengths: With John locked up to a new contract and Hedges returning after his strong rookie campaign, the center of defense looks to be a huge strength for FCD. Loyd and Benítez return as grizzled MLS veterans to man the outside back positions.
Weaknesses: Outside back depth is a bit of a worry for Dallas with rookies and unproven new signings behind Benítez and Loyd. Woodberry showed well at Maryland and Michel has impressed in preseason, but neither have proven it against MLS opposition.
Wild card: While he’s injured at the moment, rookie center back Zimmerman could be pushing both Hedges and Loyd by the end of the year. Additionally, Zimmerman should be an integral part of the United States defense should they qualify for the U-20 World Cup.
Depth Chart: DM: 1. Andrew Jacobson, 2. Peter Luccin 3. Bobby Warshaw, 4. Victor Ulloa; AM: 1. David Ferreira 2. Je-Vaughn Watson; RM: 1. Jackson 2. Jonathan Top; LM: 1. Fabián Castillo
Strengths: There is some serious attacking talent in Ferreira, Castillo and Jackson. FCD are young, speedy and dynamic down the wings, with the 2010 MLS MVP as the offensive fulcrum.
Weaknesses: As you can see, there’s a stunning lack of depth behind Castillo and Jackson. The team is looking at Honduran attakcer Ramón Núñez, who played for FCD from 2004-07 and will help with depth when healthy, but right now if Jackson or Castillo goes down, Dallas are in trouble.
Wild card: It’s going to be fascinating to see what Ferreira does with a full, healthy season. The last time that happened was in 2010, when he won MVP honors and led FC Dallas to MLS Cup.
Depth Chart: 1. Kenny Cooper, 2. Blas Pérez, 3. Eric Hassli, 4. Bradlee Baladez
Strengths: Goals, goals and more goals in this FC Dallas forward stable. Cooper, Pérez and Hassli combined for 34 goals last year, better than several entire teams. If the three can learn to work together and split time in a 4-4-2, look out.
Weaknesses: Figuring out how to best deploy Cooper, Pérez and Hassli will be one of Schellas Hyndman’s toughest jobs in 2013. The move to a 4-4-2 will have two of those three on the field at most times and they must gel if they want to replicate their 2012 scoring exploits.
Wild card: The forgotten man in all this is Baladez, but the South Carolina forward has scored his fair share of goals this preseason. The big, strong forward looks like a Pérez starter kit and by the end of the year he could be pushing for playing time.
NOTE: Pérez is suspended for the first game of the season, meaning Hassli is likely to start on opening day, with Pérez returning to the starting XI after that.