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Armchair Analyst: Roster build status for FC Dallas - https://league-mp7static.mlsdigital.net/images/FC%20Dallas%20-%20coach%20Oscar%20Pareja%20-%20stressed.jpg

FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja | USA Today Sports

The Offseason So Far: They were favorites. Then they fell on their faces. And now they've parted with nearly half their roster.

That's what happens – what has to happen – when you suffer the most catastrophic meltdown in league history. FC Dallas got every offseason signing wrong last year, then saw their young players regress, had a locker-room ice storm, and are still in the process of figuring out what went wrong.

The biggest move so far is shipping out center back Walker Zimmerman to LAFC, which definitely feels like a win for the expansion club, and there will be more big names following him out the door soon enough. Dallas haven't even begun to retool this roster, and what's to come is a good bet to look not-much-at-all like what this team was in 2014, '15 and '16.

I'm not sure if that's a good thing. But anyway, expect roster moves, both incoming and outgoing, just about everywhere.

JAN. 2 UPDATE: The glut of roster moves has commenced! First up was the addition of Bulgarian national team left back Anton Nedyalkov just before Christmas, and next up was the addition of former Swiss international CB Reto Ziegler just after New Year's.

I'll go ahead and admit that I've never seen Nedyalkov play, and that I haven't seen Ziegler since he was with Sampdoria way back in, like, 2010. So in both cases I am unsure of what to expect.

What I can say with certainty, though, is that this raid of Europe represents a pretty big departure for FC Dallas, who've traditionally done most of their business in Latin America. Given their recent track record – quick, who's the last new arrival from Latin America to really work out for Dallas? – I suppose it makes sense to try to come up with a new talent pipeline. I just hope it doesn't come at the expense of their own academy kids, none of whom broke through last season.

By the way, when they shipped Zimmerman out they got the No. 1 spot in the allocation order from LAFC in return. My hunch is you don't trade for that without knowing exactly who you're using it on. Here's the list, and here are the two names that jump out to me:

  • Omar Gonzalez
  • Fabian Castillo

Omar's had a great run of it with Pachuca, but maybe the Dallas native is ready to come home? Castillo, meanwhile, has had an abysmal time of it in Turkey, so perhaps a return to MLS is in the offing for him?

One other name to keep note of: one-time FCD academy star Emerson Hyndman. He's clearly not getting any time with Bournemouth, he turns 22 in April, and he's at the point where he's got to find a club that'll get him minutes.

Hyndman isn't on the allocation list as of now, but maybe he'll be added?

JAN. 24 UPDATE: Hyndman's still not on the allocation list, but now there are whispers that he'd like to return to MLS. Or maybe he'll be going to Sunderland. We'll find out, one way or another, by this time next week.

While Hyndman would be a former FCD Academy player coming home, Brandon Servania, Kris Reaves and Jordan Cano are all now officially FCD Academy players who stayed home. Cano might be the presumed starter at CB and Reaves will get a chance to earn minutes both at CB and RB.

Servania? He's the catch of the bunch, arguably the best player on the field as FCD dominated the likes of Everton, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Coritiba before beating Monterrey in the U-19 final of last year's Dallas Cup, then following it up with a superb freshman year at Wake Forest (had he been in the draft he'd have been the first pick). He's a box-to-box midfielder who ends up being, I think, a No. 6: 

If Kellyn Acosta and Carlos Gruezo struggle as much as they did last year, Servania will push them for playing time (and will factor into the next US U-20 cycle either way).

While Dallas have looked within for their defensive answers, they turned to the draft (and Genration adidas) to address their needs on in attack. They traded up to get Generation adidas winger/forward Francis Atuahene at No. 4, and he'll get a chance to start. Ema Twumasi, who they took 11th, is much more of a winger/playmaker type, and is probably further away from contributing.

Given all that and the fact that Maxi Urruti is now willing to work it out, Dallas really do have depth everywhere – enough so that they can sell guys like Acosta or Gruezo if the right offer comes along.

So what do they need, then, in 2018? A return to the philosophy (Play Your Kids!) that made them the league's darlings from 2014 through 2016. Yeah, those kids have to prove it, but at this point the same can be said of Oscar Pareja.

PS – You can choose to believe (or not) reports linking them to a $4 million bid for Colombian attacker Harold Mosquera. I'm choosing to remain skeptical.

If that move does happen, it means Mauro Diaz is almost certainly going on the trade market. Read into that what you will.