Author: Nicholas Rosano | Cover illustration by Duane Tomaszewski
Following up on the most successful successful season in team history is no easy ask, but FC Dallas continue to have their sights set high in 2017. After capturing a Supporters’ Shield and Open Cup double in 2016, nothing less than an MLS Cup or a CONCACAF Champions League win would see them surpass those heights. While an Achilles injury to star playmaker Mauro Diaz will keep him out of action for the first part of the year, the FCD brass have managed to add depth to a strong core while finding what they hope to be a consistent goalscoring solution in Cristian Colman. Don't be surprised to see Dallas expand their trophy collection this season.
Key Offseason Transactions
|KEY PLAYERS IN:||KEY PLAYERS OUT:|
|Cristian Colman (F)|
Roland Lamah (M)
Javier Morales (M)
Anibal Chala (D)
|Zach Loyd (D)|
Mauro Rosales (M) All transactions
Player to watch: Matt Hedges
While Dallas’ talented attacking group soaked up most of the plaudits in 2016, Hedges continued to quietly go about his business as one of the best center backs in the league and was rewarded with his first Defender of the Year win. Fresh off a US national team camp, Hedges is an integral part of the defense, as illustrated by Dallas’ starkly contrasting records in 26 games in 2016 with their 6’4” captain (23 goals against, 0.88 goals against average) and eight games without him (17 GA, 2.13 GAA).
How they'll play
HEAD COACH - OSCAR PAREJA
If preseason is any indication, we may see a change in formation from Oscar Pareja and his men, if not a change in philosophy. Dallas have spent much of the season playing with two forwards – Colman and Maximiliano Urruti – a deviation from the 4-2-3-1 they utilized for much of 2016. However, the principles should remain the same – they will utilize the potent speed of Michael Barrios and new man Roland Lamah to generate a lethal counterattack, and can mix in the creative talents of ex-RSL legend Javier Morales, and eventually Diaz, to add that extra something special when it's needed.
Projected Starting XI
4-4-2, right to left: Chris Seitz (GK) — Hernan Grana (D), Matt Hedges (D), Walker Zimmerman (D), Maynor Figueroa (D) — Michael Barrios (M), Carlos Gruezo (M), Kellyn Acosta (M), Roland Lamah (F) – Cristan Colman (F), Maximiliano Urruti (F)
2nd in Western Conference. With CCL on their plate and a missing Mauro Diaz for at least the first half of the season, Dallas may not hit the heights they did last year in winning the Supporters’ Shield, but they will still be one of the league’s teams to beat. They have depth all over the field now to complement one of the most promising starting XIs in MLS.