With the 2020 MLS season on the books and Christmas on the horizon, I wanted to put together a Christmas list for FC Dallas going into 2021 and beyond.
Hopefully, Santa is reading!
NOTE: Before I get into the list, I tried to keep things realistic. In a perfect world, FC Dallas would go and grab Neymar to play on the left-wing, but this article will try to focus on things that Santa may actually be able to deliver on in 2021.
1) Invest in a Quality, Proven Centerback in the Prime of His Career
Reto Ziegler has left the club after a very solid stint with the club, though one that saw him decline relatively sharply in 2020. FCD is also currently negotiating with Bressan on a new contract, but that would presumably be in a move to have him retain his place as a depth piece as opposed to a nailed down starter. Bressan has shown a lot of passion and fire in his time with FCD, but his lack of pace and tendency to fly into reckless challenges has made him less than reliable as a full-time starter.
With that in mind, I’d love to see FC Dallas go out and buy a center back in his prime, so roughly 25-29 years of age, that would project as someone to stick around for a few seasons. I’d prefer FCD not to try to turn this into an attempt to unearth a hidden gem or try to get someone on the cheap. The FCD defense was extremely solid in 2020 with the uncertainty and changes at left center back and right back and adding an extremely solid center back next to Hedges could make FCD’s defense truly elite in MLS.
2) Buy a New Dp Left Winger or Forward
To this point, there haven’t been any centerbacks rumored to be coming to Dallas this winter. That is not the case with the forwards, with two players having already been rumored to be heading to Dallas this winter.
The first was 26-year-old Argentinean forward Juan Dinenno, who just lost out on the Liga MX Apertura title with Pumas UNAM.
Llegaron las ??? de @medranoazteca
? Juan Dinenno, con oferta del FC Dallas de la MLS
? Pumas analiza el regreso del chileno Felipe Mora
? César Ramos Palazuelos se quedó fuera de la Finalhttps://t.co/6Cajw2XIKV pic.twitter.com/Hjl5UnFMnM
— DIARIO RÉCORD (@record_mexico) December 12, 2020
Dinenno would be a major signing, a player in the prime of his career with a solid goalscoring record in Liga MX. Almost like Franco Jara but 6 years younger. However, rumor has it that Tigres in Mexico are also interested, and it is hard to imagine Dallas outbidding Tigres if the Mexican club really wants him. The second player rumored is much more in line with FC Dallas transfers in the past decade.
Jader Obrian, a Colombian left winger playing for Aguilas Doradas in his native country, is the second player to be rumored to be headed to Dallas.
Obrian, a 25-year-old, seems to be a late bloomer but has bloomed massively in 2019 and 2020, with 27 goals in 68 appearances between 2019 and 2020, after only having 3 career goals in his preceding years as a professional. Obrian’s signing harkens back to the signing of Michael Barrios. Signing a new Barrios sounds pretty good to me, but there is no doubt that Obrian is a risky signing coming straight from the Colombian league.
With news breaking this week that Fafa Picault is being traded to Houston, left-wing has become an even more obvious spot for an incoming transfer.
Sources have told me the @HoustonDynamo have traded $275,000 in GAM to @FCDallas for Fafa Picault. #SoccerMatters
— Glenn Davis (@GlennDavisSoc) December 17, 2020
Either way, I’d like to see Dallas really invest heavily in a forward or left-winger. Dallas has massively struggled in recent seasons to generate goals from their forwards and that was no different in 2020. After a revolving door at left wing for the past 5 seasons since Fabian Castillo’s forced exit to Turkey in 2016, 2021 may finally be the season that Dallas finds their guy. Let’s hope so at least.
3) Buy Out Either Franco Jara or Bryan Acosta
This is probably the least likely on the list, but I’d like to see FC Dallas bite the bullet, spend the money, and buy out the contract of either Franco Jara or Bryan Acosta. Jara came in ahead of last season with much fanfare, but, although he certainly brought the effort, he never seemed to properly fit into what Luchi Gonzalez wants out of his striker. Jara often dropped deep to get touches on the ball, pulling him out of his high striker position. Jara was never a particularly pacey player, and at 32 years old, that was extremely evident in MLS. FCD midfielders and attackers regularly played him in with through balls, but Jara rarely was able to get on the end of them. His finishing was also less than ideal as he missed numerous simple chances throughout the season and was not nearly as clinical as he was during his time in Mexico with Pachuca. However, Jara was a signing pushed by Dan Hunt, who reportedly fell in love with Jara when Dallas played Pachuca in CONCACAF Champions League in 2017, so it seems unlikely that the owner would be willing to part ways with him so quickly.
Acosta, another high paid DP, would be the more realistic choice to buy out. The Honduran international has regularly been injured since joining in 2019, only playing in about half of the games since joining. And, especially in 2020, when he did play, Dallas was not noticeably better, not an ideal quality when you’re talking about one of your DPs.
Finally, Acosta is part of an extremely crowded central midfield and his playing time takes time away from Dallas’ boatload of talented homegrown players like Tanner Tessmann or Brandon Servania. I’d prefer to see Acosta’s contract bought out (or see him traded or sold) to make room for those players and free up space for Dallas to add another DP in a position that has a greater need for it than central midfield.
4) Support and Amplify the Biggest Supporters
A long-standing point of contention within the FC Dallas fandom has been a rift between the supporter’s groups – Dallas Beer Guardians and El Matador, and the FC Dallas front office. Numerous incidents have come up in years past in terms of issues with stadium security, Frisco police, and restrictions placed on the supporters by the front office. Recent years have seen a softening of relations, with the supporters in the beer garden being allowed to use smoke for the first time in many years in 2019.
As the 2020 season was winding down and the front office began to ramp up for 2021, they announced that the beer garden would be closed and the supporters’ groups would be moved to the opposite side of the stadium, adjacent to the National Soccer Hall of Fame section, in a section that would be repurposed into a “safe standing” section. The response was initially negative, but after digging into the details, the move may be a good one for the supporters’ groups, moving them into a proper section instead of being segregated from the crowd and placing them close to the hall of fame section’s canopy, which should help amplify the noise generated.
It all seems like a strong step forward for the atmosphere at Toyota Stadium, but it remains to be seen if the front office will step out of the way and ensure that the supporters’ groups are allowed enough freedom to continue providing the noise and atmosphere they’ve been providing for years.
5) Bring Back Proper Hoops!
One of the most unfortunate decisions in recent years, in my opinion, is the decision to move away from hoops in FCD’s kits. When the club rebranded from the Dallas Burn back in 2005, they leaned heavily into the hoops, making “hoops” the team’s nickname, naming the mascot Tex Hooper and having hoops on both home and away kits for the better part of a decade. But starting in 2014, Dallas started to move away from hoops, trying to refresh the club’s image with an all-red design.
Years later, it now feels like Dallas lacks an identity with their kits, trying out some heavily Texas-themed jerseys before going with an all-white away kit and some pseudo-hoops, albeit now red and blue instead of red and white, for the most recent kit.
In 2021, Dallas will have a new away kit, replacing the aforementioned all-white kit. With hoops partially returning and the move away from hoops clearly not having caught on, this would be the perfect time to bring back hoops in earnest. I’d love to see them recreate the FC Dallas away kit from 2006 and 2007 which featured gray and white hoops. An updated, minimal, clean version of that kit would be absolutely lovely and, with the departure of Advocare as the jersey sponsor imminent, could be one of FCD’s best selling kits in years.
What is on your FC Dallas Christmas wish list?
Featured Image: Eddie Koton