FC Dallas started preseason on MLK Day to begin the 2019 campaign. With new faces, new coaches, and a supposed “youth-movement”, let’s take a look at the roster that FC Dallas has put together for this season as of January.
Jesse will begin his 7th season with the club. At only 23 years old, Jesse is still a very young goalkeeper with quite the experience under his belt. In the past few seasons, he has been rotating in and out as the number one and the bench with being the man between the sticks for the majority of the 2018 season.
Jesse’s shot-stopping ability is one of the best in the league and he can really keep FC Dallas in game. At the same time, he still makes mistakes that do hurt the team. This season I would like for Jesse to have more confidence with the ball at his feet this year. I don’t think that it will be much of a problem with Luchi’s love for Rondos, and for being possession orientated.
Additionally, I think that he could really improve on his passing game this year. I’d like to see him be smarter with his goal kicks in particular versus always going for the long ball. If he can be more vocal with his defense and grow his leadership, I think that it would be a good season for him. I might go as far and say that this is an important season for Jesse to see what his future with the club might be. If he can nail down the starting job and show that he can grow then, I think that he has a great future at this club.
Likewise, Jesse may need a different challenge and something that is not too familiar with him to help his growth.
FC Dallas has a great problem at goalkeeping in Jimmy Maurer and Jesse Gonzalez. Jimmy had a great start to 2018 as emerging as the number one keeper from preseason. After losing it to Jesse, Jimmy’s play time became more and more limited. Jimmy is a great vocal leader and can pull out the occasional spectacular save here and there. While I don’t have a large sample size for Jimmy, going off of last year, getting the starting job would be best. After that, I feel that Jimmy needs to work on his shot-stopping ability. At 30-years old, Jimmy is beginning to enter the prime of his career.
Many expect his role to be a backup but Luchi stated that he wants all his keepers competing. While Zobeck getting first team minutes may not be much of a possibility, I can see him pushing for playtime in North Texas SC with Carlos Avilez. If he could play somewhere to 50% of the USL games, I think that would be good, though I’m sure that FC Dallas would put an emphasis on growing Avilez.
Bressan comes from a very good Gremio team where he was a consistent starter for the team. Bressan has great aerial abilities and is a cross between the hardcore nitty-gritty defender and a more poised on. Another great thing about him is that he is highly versatile along the back line.
Center-back is going to be a very fun battle to watch between Bressan, Hedges, and Ziegler. Naturally, getting playing time will be great for Bressan though he is 26 and still has time. Making the 18 for each and every game is expected. I can see him coming in to give Reto some rest (who is 33) with the occasional game. Though with Luchi, no spot is guaranteed and each player has to earn their spot. I would say that getting 20 appearances would be a good season for Bressan.
Well, what isn’t there to say about Reggie Cannon.
Reggie quickly cemented his place in the starting lineup and never looked back. He grew with each game and played almost every minute of every game last season. He put himself in the running for best center-back in the league as well as the USMNT. Naturally, I would like for Reggie to continue his growth and wowing and dazzling us.
If there are two things that I would like to see with Reggie is his positional awareness and tackling. For me, personally, I felt that Reggie would go in for the tackle too quickly or the tackle was his defensive play. Towards the end of the season, Reggie got more and more comfortable with going up the field, so more of that, please. This one is maybe more of a long term wish but I would like to see Reggie have the ability to play Left-Back and/or Centerback as well. I love me some versatility.
Moises was brought in midway through last season as defensive depth. After having spent time in Guatemala, Hernandez is also another versatile defender who has played in a back four, three, and five. I do see him making the bench but I would expect the majority of his play time to come from North Texas SC. I’m not too sure if there is much for him in the development department but he is a great depth addition. I think that making the 18 consistently with 5-10 appearances would be a good season.
Reto really displayed the value of his experience last season. With the departure of Diaz, Ziegler took over with PK and freekicks. Similarly, winning the job of starting center-back will be a fun battle to watch throughout this season. At 33 years old, I do wonder if Luchi will utilize less of Ziegler for the younger options of Hedges and Bressan. Though Luchi is not one to eliminate player based off of metrics on paper and if Reto shows that he deserves to play, I’m sure Luchi will reward.
One thing that I would like to see out of Reto is for him to play out of the back. Last preseason, everyone was rambling on Ziegler’s ability to pass the ball out of the back and single-handedly create chances. Whether this was limited due to tactics is something I would like to know. Additionally, let’s ask for five goals from him and I’ll accept PK’s as well.
Pedroso was brought in last season after the departure of Anton Nedyalkov. While Anton quickly became a fan favorite earning the name of the Bulgarian Butcher (via The 19th Minute), it kinda felt like Pedroso had some big shoes to fill. At 25 years old, Pedroso quickly fit in after having to come in during his offseason. While he may not only ways be the quickest, he does play very smart and if defensively sound. He stated that he plays most like Alex Sandro of Juventus and that is very true. He values defense first but can get in the attack. I would like to see him get more into the attack and really embrace the role of a fullback. Similarly, let’s go for five assists as well.
Hedges has put his name as one of the clubs greatest (if not legend @sadfcdfans?). Hedges has earned the captains armband and has the subtle but do-or-die attitude of him. A man of little words and emotions, he does more than just get the job done and really bosses his role. I still say that he is one the leagues best defenders, but last season was a little weird for him.
Again, it will be interesting to see if he emerges as one of the center-backs. I would like for Hedges to try to emulate his form of 2016. Hopefully, he earns a USMNT cap as well though, I’m not too sure how that one may go (come on, Berhalter!).
Hedges has always gotten one, two, or three goals in each season of his career so let’s see if he can break and go for five. I think it is very possible as he is so good at corners.
I see him rotating very heavily with North Texas SC and the first team. While I don’t think that making the first team will happen much, if he is starting the majority of the NTXSC games (which I think will happen) this will be good. If he makes some 18’s as well that will be amazing.
Similarly to Callum, I see him rotating a lot with the first team and NTXSC. Nelson reminds me a lot of Zimmerman and is great in the air. Similarly, play consistently in USL and hopefully making some game day rosters would be amazing for him. I wonder if he, along with Callum, are going to be the next generation of FC Dallas defenders like Zach Loyd, Matt Hedges, George John, and Zimmerman.
So that is the breakdown of the keepers and defense. I’m interested as to how the backline will look under Luchi. I would predict that Jesse will emerge as the number one this season, though Luchi will be really making him work and improve. I think that the backline will be:
Though over the season I would see Bressan coming in for Reto. If we go back three, then:
and a back five
Featured Image: FC Dallas/Carter Baum