Following the end of the USL Championship regular season, a handful of loanees will return to FC Dallas.
This week, we’ll take a look at how each of them might impact the remaining schedule for FC Dallas.
A 2018 draft pick out of Wake Forest and Generation Adidas member, Ghanaian winger Ema Twumasi has struggled to find any time with the first team in his time in Dallas. In his rookie season under Oscar Pareja, Twumasi made a single appearance, a start against RSL during the summer, and spent most of the season on loan to former FCD USL affiliate OKC Energy FC.
In 2019, in Luchi Gonzalez’s first season in charge, Twumasi made 2 substitute appearances, with a minute total adding up to less time that his single appearance in 2019, this time spending the majority of the season on loan to Austin Bold FC in the USL Championship. Twumasi was then loaned to Austin again following the 2020 preseason with FCD, though he did return to FCD and was part of the group that traveled to Orlando for the MLS is Back Tournament. Following FCD’s unfortunate departure from Orlando, Twumasi rejoined Austin and spent the remainder of the USL Championship season with them, starting 14 games and recording 1 goal and 3 assists.
Twumasi rejoins an FC Dallas attacking group that has struggled for goals and for consistency. After a stellar 2019, Michael Barrios has been in poor form in 2020, having only recently recorded his first goal against Columbus. The oft-maligned Dallas left-wing has continued to be an issue as neither Fafa Picault or Santiago Mosquera have done enough to stake their claim to the position. Young homegrown Dante Sealy is waiting in the wings (pun intended) and is starting to pick up some minutes late in games, but he still looks to be a raw prospect who may not be ready to play significant minutes or start games. All this being said, Twumasi will still likely find his opportunities fleeting at best.
It would be surprising if Twumasi isn’t at least given the opportunity to make his case coming off the bench, but he will likely need to make the absolute most of some limited opportunities if he hopes to truly make an impact with FCD in 2020.
Another 2018 draft pick, Generation Adidas member and Ghanaian winger, Francis Atuahene has struggled to find a place in the first team even more than Ema Twumasi has. Atuahene was actually drafted higher than Twumasi but has, to this point, only made a single first-team appearance.
To his credit, he made the most of his 26-minute appearance, scoring one of FCD’s best goals of 2019 against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Atuahene has unfortunately spent a lot of time injured since being drafted in 2018. By all reports, he was doing very well in his first preseason as a rookie, before an injury derailed his progress and forced him to miss the remainder of his first preseason. Like Twumasi, he spent most of 2018 on loan with OKC Energy and spent most of his time with Austin Bold in 2019. In 2020 however, he went way out west and joined up with Landon Donovan’s USL expansion side San Diego Loyal, where he made 12 appearances and scored twice. Unlike Twumasi, Atuahene did not travel with FCD to Orlando and will be rejoining the team for the first time since early in the preseason.
Atuahene’s situation is much the same as Twumasi’s as he joins a group of wingers that has not exactly shined brightly in 2020. The question will likely become who between Twumasi and Atuahene get the bigger opportunities, which will of course be dictated by how things go in training. Based on what happened back in preseason, Twumasi seems to be favored among the two, but preseason was a long time ago and Luchi will certainly give both players ample opportunity to prove themselves worthy of a chance to get playing time. Atuahene and Twumasi are both on the final guaranteed year of their Generation Adidas contracts, with the final two years being club options. They’ll both see this as an opportunity to try to make what will likely be one final push to earn a spot on the team in 2021.
After becoming FC Dallas’ first-round draft pick in 2019, Canadian center back Callum Montgomery spent the entirety of the 2019 season with North Texas SC, anchoring the backline along with Brecc Evans. Montgomery’s game saw clear development over the course of the season as he settled into the possession-based system and improved his passing out of the back and he was an integral part of NTSC’s USL League One championship run. Having clearly shown that there was no need for another season at that level, Montgomery was loaned to San Antonio FC in the USL Championship following the 2020 preseason, with the idea that he may be recalled at some point during the season to play with the first team, or be ready to make the step to the first team in 2021. Unfortunately for Montgomery, the COVID pandemic ruined some of those plans and kept him with SAFC for the whole season, though Montgomery did travel with FCD to Orlando during the summer. Montgomery has been a mainstay in a very good San Antonio team and has chipped in a couple of goals from his center back position as well.
The biggest question for Montgomery in regards to his likelihood of playing with FCD in 2020 is how far San Antonio goes in the USL playoffs. This is not an issue for Atuahene or Twumasi as neither San Diego or Austin made the playoffs, but San Antonio will play their first playoff game on October 10th. Montgomery could be headed back to Dallas to start his quarantine period as soon as Sunday or, if San Antonio makes the USL Championship Final, he may not be back until the final week of the MLS season, which would essentially eliminate any chance of him playing with FCD.
If SAFC does crash out of the playoffs early, Montgomery seems a likely candidate to pick up a start during the crowded end of the season to give Matt Hedges or Reto Ziegler a rest and to see how he fares against MLS opposition for the first time. Regardless, 2021 will certainly be an important year for Montgomery that may finally see him break into a role with the first team.
How do you see Twumasi, Atuahene, and Montgomery fitting into the FCD squad for the rest of 2020?
Featured Image: Jeffrey Swinger/USA Today