As the final days of 2018 come upon us and we head into the heart of the holiday season, we all have out holiday wishes. Here are a few that I have for FCD going into 2019.
Success for Luchi Gonzalez
Okay, so this one may seem a little lame as I’m sure that many fans would want Luchi to have success in his first season. Though it may not be too far out of reach with this team. First off, if you haven’t had a chance to listen to Luchi speak then consider this your homework and go listen to either his press conference or any of the interviews that he has done (my personal favorite is the interview that he did with The KickAround with Peter Welpton and Andy Swift). The first thing that I picked up is that Luchi has a great head on his shoulders. He speaks like he has been doing this coaching thing for years. Now I doubt that Luchi stands in front of a mirror and practices what he says but he does now his stuff and pays great attention to details. The amount of passion that he has for this game and this team is rivaled only by our late coach Oscar Pareja. I’m going to repeat what I said after the press conference and that is you can say what you want about the Hunts and them being cheap but really found a gem in Luchi Gonzalez. I think that it was only a matter of time before some team came and snatched up Luchi and thankfully it was us. Sure I may be very nieve in my excitement for Luchi and maybe it has to do with the fact that it is the Holidays and I’m home and drinking hot chocolate but we can all dream and wish (hence the purpose of this post).
After seeing what he has done with the academy it is kinda hard not to think that he could repeat that same success with the first team. Yes, the MLS is not the Academy and the pressure is higher and the margin of error is way smaller. Luchi emphasized numerous times the importance of the attention to detail and that is something that he’s not joking about. He’s a very intelligent man plays close attention to what he is doing, what people are saying, and what he can do to be better. I almost feel like if coaching doesn’t work out for him (hopefully that is not the case), he could be a great life coach and write a book. Alright, enough about Luchi.
When Maxi Urruti was brought to the club in 2016, many thought “Finally, our 10+ goalscorer” and I was part of the crowd. Well, Maxi was our 10+ goalscorer for 2017 when he scored 12 in MLS play but the issue with Maxi was his streakiness. Don’t get me wrong, I truly appreciate all that the guy did for us and his work ethic and work rate could never be a question and you could tell that the man loved the club more and more over his 3 seasons here. Unfortunately, he just wasn’t that consistent.
Then we got Cristian Colman as a young DP (Designated Player) and thought, “Finally, our 10+ goalscorer” and he showed some promise when he scored in his first game with the club against Arabe Unido in CONCACAF Champions Leauge play. Though he fell to missing some rather glorious chances and in 2018 got his with a bad ACL injury. If you know me, I’m a “Colman Apologist” (credit: Kenny Price) and hard to argue that the guy doesn’t love this team and teammates (the feeling is reciprocated when Maxi and Santi celebrated with his jersey after scoring). Though he just isn’t the answer.
Then came Dom Badji in a trade with Colorado and it didn’t seem that he could find his footing with the team. I’m still reserving judgment for him as I would like to see him go through a full preseason with the team and really get to know the system here (he might succeed under Luchi).
Then came December 18, 2018. There were jokes saying that if you can’t find them in the nether regions of South America then look in Eastern Europe (Anton Nedyalkov anyone? Man, I wish he worked out, showed so much promise). FC Dallas signed Zdenek Ondrasek as our new forward. He plays like your definition target forward but the man can be very physical, can defend, and has a great aerial game. The concerns that I have are how he is going to transition to the MLS. He faces some questionable defending and goalkeeping in my opinion from the highlight videos that are out there. Plus, the physicality of his game is something that I am sure that MLS referees will call out. Though he does seem to show the most promise so maybe we “Finally, have our 10+ goalscorer.”
Play the Kids?
So this has been a hot topic for quite some time. We as FC Dallas fans would love to see more of “the kids” while also wanting to see the familiar faces that we know as well as “big signings.” Naturally, this is a hard thing to balance as you can only have at most 11 people playing for your team at one time. Though, with the exodus of some of the more veteran players, and a young coach from our Academy, this does signal that FC Dallas is, in fact, going young in 2019 and coming closer to the dream of fielding an entire 11 of homegrowns that can compete for the cup. With Servania, Paxton, Roberts, Ferreira, Cannon, Richards (maybe if we keep him), all coming up and ready to compete, one can only imagine what is in store for the future. Crazy idea here but it kinda feels like we are a bit like FC Barcelona in the late ’90s and early 2000s. With Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Valdes, Pique, Puyol, Pedro, and Busquets, for example, coming out of La Masia, could FC Dallas head in the same direction? I know that it is a crazy comparison but some things to match. Is it fitting to call the FC Dallas Academy the La Masia of MLS? This does echo what Luchi said that Dallas will not buy stars but develop them.
So MLS released their new playoff format and now 7 teams from each conference make the playoffs (which is 58% of the league…). Everyone says that this is to make for more exciting playoffs and more upsets. Well, if that is the case then why not FC Dallas? We’ve made a slow but steady and consistent climb becoming a real force in the league and FC Dallas has a decent team.
Trying for MLS Cup and Supporters Shield may not really be something that the club can obtain with a new coach and signs pointing to a younger squad but the US Open Cup is certainly a possibility. I personally think that this trophy is one that the club should prioritize every year given that it is named after Lamar Hunt. With this team, it only takes one game to decided a teams fate in this tournament and I think that this team has what it takes to get a job done in one game.
Sure some of these wishes are rather far-fetched but that’s why it’s a wish list. Hopefully, some of these come true and if not, that’s okay. We still have a team that we as fans support. Happy Holidays!
'Twas the night before Christmas… pic.twitter.com/sYGh5KCE08
— FC Dallas (@FCDallas) December 24, 2018
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