Back in January, we took a look at the four biggest preseason position battles for FC Dallas in 2022. Each month throughout the season, we will review those four battles and see where things stand as the season progresses.

Center back: Jose Martinez vs Nkosi Tafari

Although a significant portion of FC Dallas fans would rather see Nkosi Tafari the regular starter at center back alongside Matt Hedges, it is clear that Nico Estevez and his staff value Jose Martinez’s experience and game reading over the youth and athleticism of Tafari. Tafari is not out of the picture completely of course, he has been regularly used to get Hedges or Martinez some rest and to help close out close games, but, at least for the rest of 2022, Martinez seems to have completely locked down this starting spot. If he’s healthy, he will start over Tafari.

Right back: Ema Twumasi vs Nanu

Similarly, Ema Twumasi has made the right back spot his. There was chatter during the transfer window that FCD were interested in acquiring Richie Laryea on loan from Nottingham Forest, but the Canadian international ended up back at his home town Toronto FC. Twumasi, who had a rather disappointing start to the season, has cemented his place ahead of Nanu, who seems unlikely to have his loan from FC Porto extended or the buy option triggered by FCD. Twumasi has had a number of solid performances in recent weeks and has shown some of the progression that fans expected to see after his first season playing right back in 2021. This is still a spot that FCD will look to improve in the offseason but Twumasi has done well to make the spot his in 2022 and make his case for the future.

Defensive midfielder: Facundo Quignon vs Edwin Cerrillo

Leaving this one undecided for the moment. Facundo Quignon seemed to have the job pretty definitively won, with Edwin Cerrillo only making occasional rotation starts, but he suffered an injury early in August that has kept him out through most of the month, only returning to the bench for the brutal game against Nashville SC. This allowed Edwin Cerrillo to get a run of games and, though he started off a bit shaky in the run, he steadily improved his level, eventually putting in one of the best performances he has had since signing his homegrown contract in 2019 in the impressive win against Philadelphia Union. Unfortunately for the homegrown, he followed that up with what was probably one of his worst ever performances as a pro against Nashville and was substituted at halftime. To be fair to Cerrillo, he played a lot of minutes in some tough conditions, with no one else really able to play the 6 on the roster to spell him, and the Nashville game may have just been a culmination of that coming to a head. But I think that performance has opened the door back up for Quignon, who should be fully healthy ahead of the huge RSL game at home to close out the month and I suspect will get the start.

Central midfielder: Brandon Servania vs Tsiki Ntsabeleng Sebastian Lletget

Well, after adding Servania and Tsiki to this recurring column for July, FC Dallas pulled off a pretty stunning trade that has largely made it irrelevant. To be clear, there is definitely still some competition between Servania and Tsiki, though Servania’s current pelvis injury is likely to keep him beneath Tsiki in the pecking order for most of the rest of the season. With all of FCD’s mid-week games done and the need for rotation for rest reduced, I’ll be surprised if either Tsiki or Servania get another start in 2022.

As the season approaches its final months, what are your thoughts on these preseason position battles? Let me know in the comments below!

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