With the turn of the calendar over to a new year, we are just a few short weeks away from the start of MLS training camps. There is still plenty of offseason left to go, but this week we’ll look at what FC Dallas has done so far in acquiring players ahead of the 2024 season.

Enes Sali

The first signing of the offseason was one that was originally rumored during the season itself, with FCD signing the Romanian international shortly after the season ended. Sali is just 17 years old but already has well over 50 professional appearances in Romania under his belt. Born in Canada, he spent time in Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy system before eventually becoming the youngest player to ever make a senior national team appearance in UEFA history when he was called up and played for Romania at just 15 years of age.

His time in Romania hasn’t exactly been hyper prolific but there is clearly talent there and Dallas will hope that they can mold that talent into something that will not only help them in MLS but that they can eventually sell for a profit later on. Sali is under contract through the 2027 season and Nico Estevez was quick to pump the brakes on expectations for the immediate future. Sali is one for the future and may not play a major role in 2024. But this is an exciting signing and the type that should be embraced by FCD and MLS as a whole.

Alejandro Urzua

The first homegrown signing of the offseason, Urzua is a midfielder who played a bunch of minutes for North Texas SC in 2023. Urzua is just 17 years old and looks likely to play a lot more minutes with North Texas in 2024 with FCD’s midfield looking pretty crowded. Urzua is a promising talent who looks like he could end up as a 6 at the MLS level when things are all said and done, but FCD will certainly look to play him as an 8 as well. Another one for the future, don’t expect to see a ton of Urzua at the first team level in 2024.

Tomas Pondeca

Pondeca is a rather fascinating signing for 2024. He was originally signed ahead of the 2023 season to North Texas SC after impressing in the open tryouts (this is a bit misleading, Pondeca was reportedly asked to attend the open tryouts as a bit of a formality). Previously part of the US National Futsal team, Pondeca didn’t have the greatest start to his time at North Texas SC, primarily playing as a winger under Javier Cano. But after Cano was dismissed and John Gall took his place, Pondeca largely played in central midfield and had a fantastic end to the season, ultimately ending with 4 goals and 1 assist to finish the season. Obviously his play was so impressive to the club that they felt it warranted a step up to the first team. Pondeca is joining a crowded midfield and seems likely to play more for North Texas, at least to start 2024, but he is certainly one to keep an eye on in preseason and as the season moves forward.

Malik Henry-Scott

Henry-Scott is an example of a signing that used to be extremely common for FCD but has gone to the wayside in recent years: the college homegrown signing. Henry-Scott, the brother of fellow FCD homegrown Tarik Scott, was signed after a four year college career at the University of Tulsa, the first college homegrown signing since Eddie Munjoma in 2020. Henry-Scott had a prolific college career, scoring 17 goals and notching 7 assists in his 48 games played. Henry-Scott is a terrific athlete and a bit of a project for FCD, he has the raw tools for a successful MLS career but needs some molding to make it at the professional level. At age 22, he doesn’t have the same leash and time that other homegrown signings typically have, so he’ll need to break into the team sooner rather than later. He is capable of playing on the wing or as a 9 so it will be interesting to see if and how Henry-Scott can impact the first team in 2024.

Logan Farrington

These final three players have not yet been signed as they are all SuperDraft picks. For their first round pick, Dallas clearly felt like they had to grab Oregon State’s Logan Farrington, as they traded $300,000 in GAM with Inter Miami to move up to the 3rd spot in the draft to pick him. Farrington was one of the best players in college soccer in his final year at Oregon State, scoring 15 goals and adding 7 assists in 21 games. Farrington was so highly thought of that he was signed by MLS prior to the draft even happening, a strong sign that he will make the FCD roster. Unlike many draft picks these days in MLS, Dallas seems intent on Farrington having a quick impact on the first team with Andre Zanotta specifically mentioning that the front office feels he can make a quick impact in his pro career. Farrington might be one of the most intriguing players to watch as the season gets underway.

Turner Humphrey

Apparently FC Dallas has a real affinity for Oregon State players, as second round pick Turner Humphrey marks their second pick from the school in 2024 and their third in the past three years (Tsiki Ntsabeleng in 2022 is the third). Humphrey is an intriguing prospect at center back. He certainly has the physical tools, standing at 6’4″ with plenty of pace to spare. His profile is similar to Nkosi Tafari coming out of college, a SuperDraft pick that has turned out to be a massive one for Dallas. There is certainly some coaching and adjustment to the professional game that will need to happen for Humphrey but if Dallas can get that part figured out, they should have a very solid MLS level center back on their hands. Humphrey seems likely to make the FCD roster but likely play the majority of the season at North Texas SC in 2024.

Mads Westergren

For their third and final SuperDraft pick, Dallas kept things local and picked SMU center back Mads Westergren. Westergren, who spent time with Brondby IF as a youth in his native Denmark, had an accomplished college career, earning All-AAC nods multiple times while anchoring the backline for one of the top programs in the country. The big hurdle for Westergren and breaking into MLS is his status as an international player. International spots are valuable commodities and it is a tough sell to use one on a third round draft pick. If he’s willing to stick around for it, he would make a valuable addition to North Texas SC to allow Dallas to continue to evaluate and develop him to see if he can ultimately break into the first team roster but it will be a tough hill to climb. Don’t be shocked if Westergren isn’t around the club by the time the season starts.

What are your thoughts on FCD’s offseason acquisitions thus far? Let me know in the comments below!

Featured Image: Len Cederholm
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