This time we take a look at the players available to Luchi that make-up the midfield. With some new, young, and old faces, making up the 2019 roster, I give a quick player profile and some goals that I have for them.
Acosta has been a target of FC Dallas since the summer of 2018 with Maynor Figueroa speaking highly of him. Acosta is more of the box-to-box player that the team lost with the departure of Kellyn Acosta. A traditional 8, Acosta is well versed in all aspects of the game and at 25 years old, he is one of Honduras’ most promising players. Given with his troubles with obtaining a visa, I may be a bit harder for him to secure a starting role as Luchi is trying to figure what tools he has in terms of players. I would like to see him secure a starting role by the end of the season but more importantly, for him to make an impact in the game by being a sound defensive force and able to help spark the attack and cycle the ball well.
Aranguiz arrived last summer and many dubbed him the “Diaz Replacement.” While he is supposed to be our new number 10, I don’t see him as a replacement. At 21 years old, he has quite the time and room to be developed as a player. While making the starting squad would be awesome, I’m not too sure that he would be starting consistently. Being in the 18 every game would be great. I think that the coaching staff will have his development in mind and I’m sure that Luchi will do well with that. Let’s start with 5-10 assist this season and hopefully 5 goals as some metric for him. More importantly, getting consistent play time (off the bench or in the starting line-up) will be most important and trying to get him comfortable in different game situations while helping the team is the goal that I have for him and the club.
Mikey has been here for 4 seasons and what 4 seasons it has been. A small but speedy winger who will really make the opposition’s defense tire out. At 27 years old, Barrios is entering the prime of his career. He has been a constant goal threat and provides assists to the team from his crosses. While he is fast, I do feel that Mikey is too unilateral. I would like to see him cut into the box versus always running to the end line and playing in a cross and hoping it finds some. Additionally, I hope he works on shot taking a bit more because it looks like he is just kicking it as hard as he can in the direction of the goal. Barrios hasn’t broken the 10 goal mark (coming close with 9 in 2016) so let’s ask for 10 goals and hopefully, he can hit at least 10 assists as well.
Gruezo will begin his 4th season with the club at 23 years old. I keep forgetting how old Greuzo actually is because he plays like he has been doing this for so so long. A true 6 and defensively sound, Gruezo do so much work on and off the ball that stats do not truly show the value that he can provide for a team. He breaks up the attack before the defense is called in and is a great release valve for the when the defense gets overwhelmed. There were some rumors that Gruezo would move onto Vasco da Gama in Brazil, but reports stated that FC Dallas was asking for too much. There really is one thing that I would like Gruezo to do and is to be able to grow more as a “midfielder”. He is purely a defensive midfielder but that is it. I would like to see him cycle the ball more and be an option for the attack to pass back too. For example, in the attack position himself between the center circle and box being an option to pass to and help create and switch the play.
Jacori’s play time has been limited here and there the past two seasons though he has shown us that he is here to play. He started off the 2018 season in the starting 11 due to a Kellyn Acosta injury and he did not look back. What amazed many people was his ability to make the ball stick to his foot and hold the ball in tight situations. While he is more attack-minded than a box-to-box, Hayes can defend. This season I would like for him to challenge for a starting spot again. It will be hard with the like of Gruezo, Acosta, and Aranguiz but that will only make him better. I can see him playing consistently for North Texas SC but also make the first team 18 as well. Really, it is just getting consistent play time for him and to let him grow.
It seems weird but Hollingshead has been here for 5 years but it seems so much longer. If there is anything that sums up Hollingshead best, it would be versatility. This guy can play anywhere and he can play anywhere very well: including goalkeeper. So for me, Ryan is an interesting case. It is great that he can play anywhere but I’m torn between wanting him to have more play time as well as having other people step into the roster and play as well (Pomykal, Jacori, Roberts, Servania for example). I think that he is the most likely that will consistently be in the 18. It would be great if he fights for starting role so I think I will make that my challenge for him: getting a starting role.
So I think very highly of Santi and I am a huge fan of the potential that this guy has. Towards the end of the season, he was showing us just what he has and I don’t think that we have come close to all that he has to offer. While he is still very raw when it comes to his abilities, he does have the flair and scoring threat that is needed of a winger. I know that it was said that he could play as a 10 so I am curious to see how that works out. I would like to see him work on his health since he did get some injuries last season. I can see him getting 10 and 10 on the goals and assists since he really heated up and the end of last season. Hopefully, he continues that trend.
I think that it is weird that we are going to say that Paxton is about to start his 4th season with the club. Many that 2018 would be the year that Paxton breaks out but he saw a reduction of minutes from 140 to 125 minutes. This year, I think that Paxton will get his chance and I hope that he is playing almost every game either as a starter or as a sub. You can tell that he is hungry and wants to play and he is fighting for it. The skill and potential are there, all that he needs is the play time.
Roberts’ ceiling is through the roof and a player that I am very high on. With Luchi as head coach, who knows what type of magic could happen. I think that he would be making the 18 here and there but I see him as a starter for North Texas SC. The biggest thing for me when it comes to Roberts is just giving him playing time and letting him grow. I think that is the most important thing for him.
Brandon is another player that has a very high potential and is that box-to-box midfielder. He is a very dominant player and all he needs is play time. I do remember him making the 18 at least once last season and it would be great to see if that can happen again. Similarly to Thomas, I see him getting the majority of his play time with North Texas SC. Just let the kid play and develop will be the goal for Brandon.
You know, I can wait for the day that we see a Roberts, Servania, Pomykal midfield. I think that would be a very dominating midfield in the league and the great thing is that these guys can not only attack but also defend. In terms of what the lineup would look like this season is interesting. Here are what I think are the two general lineups when it comes to the midfield will be.
Featured Image: Big D Soccer/Daniel McCullough