Nice Roster Build You Got There
Let's take a look at FC Dallas' roster build so far in 2024.
Preseason is upon us for FCD fans.
FC Dallas has been forced to make some adjustments to their training schedule with winter weather issues, but they will head up to the luxurious environs called Wichita Falls in preparation for their battle against Inter Miami in the Cotton Bowl. After that, they return to Spain to potentially face some interesting opponents, including Malmo from Sweden, as they prep for opening day.
These first few weeks are crucial for the team to build relationships, instill new tactical ideas, and build fitness for another long Major League Soccer campaign.
While new arrivals are still in the picture, FC Dallas goes into this preseason with a stocked and familiar roster. Let’s dive into the big changes.
Jader Obrian’s tenure with FC Dallas, despite being one of the bright spots of 2023, is officially over. Jader will play for Austin FC tonight, although there have been rumors of him moving abroad. Considering how well he played last season, this is disappointing but fans understand he would have had to come back at a lower price, likely something he didn’t want to do.
At this stage, Amet Korca is likely gone. While Dallas mentioned they made a legitimate offer to keep him, the centerback doesn’t appear to returning.
Collin Smith featured in a handful of games for Dallas due to injury, and while he flashed some of the potential that led him to be a homegrown signing, the defender is moving on in his career.
Jose Martinez and Facundo Quignon are officially done as FC Dallas players. There was some question that Quignon might stick around, but with Illaramendi getting another year, his salary was freed up to expand the team. Martinez seemed to diminish in importance as the season wore on as well.
Jimmy Maurer returns, the team announced this past week. In addition to his presence as a veteran keeper, he also begins a front office role. This is fascinating, and it may be the beginning of a long-term role in the coaching department. It’s good as Dallas would have had to rely on Antonio Carrera alone as the no. 2, so this gives the squad some flexibility. Antonio can grow into the backup position.
The youngster signing of the year, kind of a wild card for Dallas, is Romanian international Enes Sali, a potential wonderkid who has lots of room to grow. He’s super young. He has room to grow and develop. We don’t really know what to expect. This season could see him feature as a substitute or he could emerge as a starter.
Another fascinating signing is Omar Gonzalez, the veteran CB with oodles of experience in the league and national team. The hometown guy looks to finish his career in Frisco after featuring intermittently for New England last season. We know Omar will be a huge veteran presence in the locker room, and he does provide a clear option off the bench as Dallas seeks to improve their already stout defense next season. If he ends up being a week to week starter, I’ll be surprised.
Logan Farrington went third to FC Dallas in the SuperDraft, which indicates the team thinks he can be a piece on this roster. Farrington lands in Frisco with a solid resume from his collegiate career, scoring goals and dishing assists. He’s tall and could be a surprise signing who emerges throughout the season, but no doubt he begins off the bench. The other two SuperDraft picks, Turner Humphrey and Mads Westergren, both defenders, match a bit more of the North Texas philosophy, so it will be interesting to see where they land.
The final signings include a round of homegrowns and North Texas veterans including Tomas Pondeca, who we are very excited about, and Alejandro Urzua. Pondeca and Urzua will likely earn some minutes with North Texas SC again this year as they transition and compete for first team minutes. Both are likely to have all the opportunity they desire to earn some playing time though. I love a growing pipeline from the development team to the first team, though, and largely because the youngsters have professional minutes already under their belt.
Will there be more incoming players? It’s very possible, but there are challenges that remain.
International Roster Spots Are a Problem
FC Dallas looks to have maxed out their international spots on the roster, though they can trade for additional spots from other teams.
Of course, they can also loan players for the season down to North Texas or hope some guys get green cards before all is said and done.
One big question mark is the status of Jesus Jimenez. As of now, Jimenez appears to still be with the team, but the Spanish striker could be bought out to free up a spot. If the team does this, it means they have a transfer incoming. There have been rumors about a young striker from South America as a potential target. Jesus Jimenez was very disappointing last season, so that makes sense.
On the other hand, Dallas could wait to buy him out if they think they can bring in someone in the summer.
This is one story to watch.
Can Continuity Get It Done?
More than anything else, FC Dallas seems to be banking on continuity in 2024.
I kind of like it.
For one, Dallas has a group of young players who continue to improve. Bernard Kamungo came out of nowhere to play so well as to earn a national team call-up. Liam Fraser showed promise. Paxton Pomykal is going to have all the opportunity to take the next step. The team is built to improve in so many areas.
And two, Dallas is going to get healthier. The team is missing Alan Velasco to start things, but the rest of the squad should be getting ready to go. Many senior players missed important swathes of 2023. If the team can stay healthy, they should have more options and be more dangerous.
But… at times, Dallas looked to lack the killer instinct, the flash of skill, the next level of talent to advance further than what the roster suggests.
Will that come with one of the new young signings? Do they need to identify the striker who can help Jesus unlock his next-level ability? Or will we see a team that tries to compete within their budget and hope more of the same leads to different results?
That’s what we are all waiting to see.