November 21st was deadline day for MLS clubs to make decisions on players’ contracts for the 2020 season.
Let’s look at 5 players who are either out of contract or had their option declined who FC Dallas should consider signing in the offseason.
The 28-year-old Serbian winger/forward is one of a number of players let go by Chicago in this offseason and they prepare for a full rebuild and rebranding to go along with their move back to Soldier Field for the 2020 season. After an electric first season with the Fire in 2018 where he scored 12 goals and recorded 5 assists, his numbers regressed in 2019 to only 6 goals and 7 assists in roughly 300 fewer minutes played. Katai is most often deployed on the wing and has shown an ability to turn a game on its head with his ability to both get down the line and put in crosses and cut back inside and shoot on goal.
Slotting Katai in at the left-wing spot opposite Michael Barrios would, on paper, make for the best wing pairing since Fabian Castillo was bombing down the wing for FCD but his cost will likely be prohibitive for Dan Hunt and the FCD front office. Katai made over $1.3 million in 2019, higher than any Dallas player. At the very least, Dallas would likely need to part with Santiago Mosquera to make signing Katai a realistic possibility for the front office. Katai’s signing is unlikely but not completely out of the realm of possibility.
Another 28 year old, the former Orlando City and Colorado midfielder is actually a local boy, having grown up in Plano. Powers exploded onto the MLS season in his rookie season in 2013, scoring 5 goals and adding 6 assists from midfield, and earning rookie of the year honors. He followed that up with another strong season in 2014 with 5 goals and 9 assists. However, it has all been a bit downhill since 2014, with Powers making a move midseason to Orlando in 2017 where he has only made a total of 16 MLS appearances for the Lions over the course of 2 and a half seasons.
For FCD, Powers would fill a similar role to what he filled in Orlando, a depth midfielder in multiple spots, something Dallas could use going into 2020. In Luchi Gonzalez’s system, Powers would potentially be able to slot in both at the 6 and the 8 and is a player that knows the league is only made $200,000 in 2019. After disappointment in Orlando dealing with injuries and a lack of playing time, Powers might see a lot of appeal in coming home to try to reboot his career with FCD.
The 21-year-old Jamaican midfielder was drafted by LAFC after impressing in the Caribbean Combine in October 2018 but only made 6 appearances for LAFC in 2019, along with another 6 appearances for Phoenix Rising in the USL Championship. Vassell couldn’t find a lot of playing time on a stacked LAFC team who cruised to the 2019 Supporters’ Shield, but at only 21 years of age, is still a very promising prospect for the future, having already earned 14 caps for Jamaica.
Vassell would be coming into a crowded midfield full of young, talented homegrowns if he did come to Dallas and could potentially see another loan down to USL if the signing did happen. Additionally, Vassell would take up an international spot, though Dallas should have some available following their own contract decisions. On the attractive side of things, Vassell only made a shade over $70,000 in 2019, so he would be a low risk signing in terms of cost but the chance Luchi and the front office find even that low risk worth it is tenuous at best.
The veteran Ghanaian defender had his option declined by Colorado following the 2019 season, in which he only made 3 appearances. Opare has struggled with injuries throughout his career, only making 65 appearances for DC United between the 2014 and 2018 seasons but when he has been able to string together regular playing time, he has been a solid, if not a standout, defender at the MLS level.
If FCD did take a look at Opare, it would be as a depth defender. Opare is primarily a center back but has the ability to play as an outside back as well. Some of this speculation regarding another defender depends on two things: one being Reggie Cannon’s future with the club. If Reggie does make his rumored move to Europe in the offseason, Dallas will suddenly need some additional depth at full-back. The other thing in question is FCD’s evaluation of Callum Montgomery. If the front office and coaching staff feels that Montgomery can occupy the 4th center back slot, signing a center back becomes most unnecessary but if they don’t feel Montgomery would be ready to step in, some additional depth at the position is needed. At a salary of only $70,000, Opare would be very affordable as a depth piece.
The 30-year-old Mexican midfielder did not have his contract option exercised for 2020 by Philadelphia after a relatively disappointing season for the Union. Fabian made 23 appearances, 8 of those coming from the bench, and recorded 7 goals and 1 assist. Sold numbers, but ultimately underwhelming considering his stature and salary.
Let’s be honest, the chances of Dallas signing the former Eintracht Frankfurt, Chivas, and Cruz Azul player, are incredibly slim. In addition to being expensive (Fabian made over $2 million in 2019), Fabian plays a position in which Dallas has plenty of depth and promising young players. That being said, it is always fun to think about the kind of impact signing a prominent Mexican international like Fabian could have on the club, particularly the club’s attendance. Fabian is a large enough name that he would certainly bring folks out to Frisco who may not normally be interested and would drive new Mexican media interest in the club as well. But at the end of the day, it really is all just wishful thinking, Fabian isn’t coming to Dallas in 2020.
Should Dallas be interested in these players and will they sign any of them? Who else should Dallas take a look at among the players out of contract following the MLS season? Sound off in the comment section below!
Featured Image: Chicago Fire