FC Dallas Makes Roster Decisions
Today, Dallas announced who is staying and who is going as the team begins to build for 2024. Are there any surprises?
I know it’s been a bit quiet on the Afterburn Soccer front as we are in a holding pattern and enjoyed a bit of a holiday break, but the news FC Dallas fans have been waiting for dropped today, as the FC Dallas front office announced roster decisions as they begin charting a course for the 2024 season.
Were there any surprises? No.
The report reads:
Players under contract for the 2024 season include goalkeepers Maarten Paes, Antonio Carrera, defenders Geovane Jesus, Nolan Norris, Marco Farfan, Ema Twumasi, Nkosi Tafari and Sebastien Ibeagha; midfielders Paxton Pomykal, Eugene Ansah, Dante Sealy, Paul Arriola, Alan Velasco, Bernard Kamungo, Tarik Scott, Isaiah Parker (returning from loan) and Sebastian Lletget; forwards José Mulato, Jesús Ferreira and Jesús Jimenez.
Option exercised (5): Asier Illarramendi, Liam Fraser, Katlego ‘Tsiki’ Ntsabeleng, Sam Junqua, Herbert Endeley
Option declined (3): Collin Smith, Facundo Quignón , José Martínez
In Discussions (3): Jáder Obrian, Jimmy Maurer, Amet Korça
With only three options being declined, at first glance, FC Dallas does not appear to have a ton of room for additions in 2024. That’s not surprising. The core of this roster is set in place, and it is a solid enough core to carry into the next MLS season.
But look closely - Facundo Quignón and José Martínez were both on sizable contracts and occupied international spots (despite a rumor that Facundo was getting a green card soon). That’s a chunk of salary cap space that could be used to bolster the roster over the winter.
In addition, Asier Illarramendi will be sticking around, making Facundo’s presence less of a need. Liam Fraser gets another opportunity to flourish in Frisco, as he showed quite well late in the season and looks like a solid veteran roster piece. Tsiki gets more time to develop, Sam Junqua continues his role as a key super sub, and Herbert Endeley gets more seasoning opportunity.
A lot of the depth questions are already covered going into 2024. Dallas can focus on difference makers this winter as Alan Velasco recovers from season ending ACL injury.
I don’t have any quibbles with these decisions. This is a year where the team is mostly settled, though movement is still possible.
Getting Jáder Obrian, Jimmy Maurer, and Amet Korça back on inexpensive veteran contracts will be huge too. Maurer’s return would give more time for Carrera to develop. Amet is at the least a somewhat seasoned youngster in central defense - maybe with some upside. Obrian was stellar down the stretch.
The questions are - will Jesus Ferreira depart this winter? Is Jesus Jimenez sticking around, or could the team find a taker for the Spanish striker and free up more room? Will we see any outgoing trades for veteran guys?
For now, this is the first building block in what will be an interesting season as FC Dallas tries to take the next step toward a MLS Cup final.