Anyone who isn’t following FC Dallas very closely would think that the trading of Marquinhos Pedroso is one that disregards the depth in that position. But with the club turning its focus to the academy, this possible trade only means the club has trust in the players that are coming through the pipeline.
Marquinhos Pedroso has signed for DC United. This move makes sense in more ways than one: he hasn’t been able to crack the bench due to the performances of other players and due to the new system he has been asked to play.
Under Oscar, it was much easier for Marquinhos to shine in that style. Outside backs are asked mostly to defend in that system with the occasional forward push. However, under Lucchi, the outside backs are a crucial part of the running of the attack, pushing play forward and basically playing a winger while on the overlap.
This type of attack-minded play suits the player that was under Pedroso in the depth chart: Ryan Hollingshead. Ryan is known to be this Swiss knife that the club has had at its disposal since 2014.
However, before coming out of college, he was way more of an attacking threat for the Bruins than a defensive one. In his time at UCLA, he played mostly as a right winger, with the occasional role as an attacking midfielder. His role as a wingback famously started at FC Dallas, when Oscar moved Ryan into the wingback role due to roster depth. During that time in his career, that was the only way for the rookie to make the gameday roster, and this position change has allowed him to become a versatile asset to the team.
In Luchi’s system, this is true more than ever. Hollingshead’s ability to beat players on the dribble takes defenders away from him, leaving gaps for players like Barrios and Fereirra to fill.
I know that the game against San Jose was crazy tactically-wise, but this passing map is insane. He looks like a center mid, and his position is one that represents a midfielder. Paxton had to play left back when Hollingshead was pushing up like crazy.
Marquinhos definitely doesn’t play like this, which is probably why the two sides thought it was better to mutually part ways. This trade also opens up space for the depth in the club’s pipeline to push up the ranks. Hollingshead, for all his uses, is 28 years old, making him the 3rd oldest in the regular starting eleven. He will probably see to the bench/trading block in a couple years, which means the club will need a replacement.
Starting off, John Nelson. We saw Nelson in one North Texas SC game this year, but there is no way we will see him there again for the foreseeable future. Currently the only left back depth choice on the FC Dallas roster, Nelson has impressed with his defensive ability and his flexibility (almost like a second Hollingshead…). As a Generation Adidas player, he is basically on a trial for two years to prove his worth to the club, at no expense to the actual club.
He was one of the only freshmen in the entire NCAA to start all of his games. In his sophomore year, he started most of the games and helped lead the Tar Heels through the playoffs.
His playstyle is very physical. He is strong on the ball and quick on his feet and has the passing ability to make him a good right back defensively. Besides that, we haven’t seen enough of him to actually state if he is good or not in attack. He seems to have speed and decent crossing ability, but not the same driving speed that Ryan uses to get into the attack.
If/When Ryan will be replaced, Nelson will probably be the first choice. But he isn’t the only choice in the club.
Currently, besides Nelson, North Texas SC has three left backs rostered: Kevin Bonilla, Jose Almaguer, and Jonathan Gomez.
Kevin Bonilla and Jose Almaguer are actually extremely similar in skillset and tactical ability. Both have fought with Julian Hinojosa for spots on the FC Dallas Academy starting eleven. Both have been called up to US youth national teams over the past couple years. Bonilla is a bit stronger on the ball, but a lot shorter. He plays like a Marvell Wynne: speed and strength on the ball and defensively. Jose Almaguer has been less impressive in an NTSC shirt (specifically Chattanooga’s last goal on the first game of the season), but he has shown skill when he has played.
Jonathan Gomez is an interesting one. He still hasn’t played a professional game with North Texas, but his play in the Generation Adidas Cup was awesome, and at 15, he is currently one of the club’s best talents based on potential. Due to his time as a winger, he is very good on the overlap and can dribble past players in the final third. However, he has also developed into a stalwart defensively player. He is raw, but he has a tone of upside.
With all of these players in the depth, it’s no wonder why the club decided that trading Marquinhos was for the best. Hollingshead and Nelson fit the system, while the other three grew up into it. The club has claimed that they are committed to #PlayTheKids, and this is just another example of that commitment.
FC Dallas plays Houston Dynamo at 3 on Saturday.
Update: Marquinhos Pedroso and 100K in GAM for a first round 2020 Draft Pick.
Featured Image: FCDallas.com