A lot of the focus on Dallas over the winter came in tracking the saga that eventually landed Bryan Reynolds with AS Roma, but FCD are well-positioned to make some noise on the field in 2021.
As usual, they have a number of talented young homegrowns set to earn minutes while they continue to accentuate those youngsters with key veterans. Expectations for continued improvement are high in year three for Luchi Gonzalez.
- MLS Reg. Season: 6th place in Western Conference (34 pts - 1.55 PPG - 9-6-7, +4 GD)
- Audi MLS Cup Playoffs: Eliminated in the conference semifinals by Seattle Sounders, 1-0
The Colombian No. 10 arrived mid-season last year and walked right into the starting XI. Ricaurte’s box-score numbers didn’t jump off the screen but his technical ability sure does and we should expect to see an uptick in goals and assists this season.
Jara also arrived midseason after a stellar few years in Mexico with Pachuca. He started slow to life in MLS but ended with seven goals in 16 appearances. He has competition to start up top given a few rising young talents are pushing him for minutes, though.
Hedges has been a constant in central defense for Dallas since the 2012 season (!) and that’ll continue this year. One of the more underrated and consistent defenders in the league.
Young Player to Watch
There are too many to choose from in Dallas, but we’ll go with Tessmann here. The US youth international midfielder is a huge talent and broke into the team and the US men's national team picture in 2020. Also: Keep an eye on Ricardo Pepi, Jesus Ferreira, Paxton Pomykal, etc.
- Jader Obrian: Obrian was the club’s big attacking addition of the offseason, arriving in his prime as the leading goal scorer of the Colombian league despite playing as a winger. He had 27 goals in 68 appearances with Rionegra Aguilas and is expected to slot into Dallas’ starting XI at right wing.
- Jose Antonio Martinez: To bolster the backline, Dallas acquired the Spanish defender from SD Eibar. Martinez also spent time with Barcelona B during his career and has plenty of experience in both the top and second tiers in Spain.
- Freddy Vargas: Another new winger, Vargas arrives on loan from Deportivo Lara. The 22-year-old is a Venezuelan youth international who already has more than 100 professional appearances at the club level.
- Michael Barrios: Barrios had been a constant in the Dallas attack for years before being traded to the Colorado Rapids this winter. The 29-year-old made 179 career appearances with FCD.
- Reto Ziegler: The club’s captain, Ziegler was out of contract after three seasons in Texas. The 35-year-old has since signed for FC Lugano in Switzerland.
- Bryan Reynolds: Reynolds made just 15 career MLS starts for Dallas before some of the world’s biggest clubs came chasing after him, facilitating a historic winter transfer to Roma. He was Reggie Cannon’s replacement mid-season, now they have another stalwart right back to replace with no one obvious choice.
- Thiago Santos: After one solid season with the club that saw him establish himself as a fixture in the starting XI, the defensive midfielder was sold back Gremio in his native Brazil.
Projected Starting XI
- Goalkeepers (3): Jimmy Maurer, Phelipe Megiolaro, Kyle Zobeck
- Defenders (7): Bressan, Nkosi Burgess, Matt Hedges, Ryan Hollingshead, Jose Antonio Martinez, Eddie Munjoma, John Nelson
- Midfielders (8): Bryan Acosta, Edwin Cerrillo, Nicky Hernandez, Paxton Pomykal, Andres Ricaurte, Thomas Roberts, Tanner Tessmann, Ema Twumasi
- Forwards (7): Kalil ElMedkhar, Jesus Ferreira, Franco Jara, Jader Obrian, Ricardo Pepi, Dante Sealy, Freddy Vargas
Armchair Analyst's Breakdown
- Strength: Dallas are deeeeeeeep. Because of how prolific their academy has been they’ve got multiple options at every spot on the field, and that’s meant they’re hard to discount even when their DPs are underdelivering.
- Weakness: Their DPs since the days of Mauro Diaz have a long and storied history of underdelivering, which significantly lowers the ceiling on what this team is capable of. Neither of the DPs on this team — Franco Jara and Bryan Acosta — are guaranteed starters, nor is last year’s mid-season No. 10 acquisition, Andres Ricuarte. It’s hard to compete for silverware when the top of the roster looks like that.
- Charles Boehm: 7th in West
- Tom Bogert: 7th in West
- Susannah Collins: 7th in West
- Matthew Doyle: 8th in West
- Sam Jones: 7th in West
- Michael Lahoud: 6th in West
- Joe Lowery: 7th in West
- Jillian Sakovits: 8th in West
- Greg Seltzer: 5th in West
- Steve Zakuani: 5th in West