The recent fortunes of FC Dallas bear a resemblance to the Columbus team we previewed yesterday; two years of no playoffs meet a brand new, splashy coach. The difference here is that Dallas welcomes back one of its own in a sense, with Oscar Pareja returning from Colorado for pastures where he spent 13 years as a player and assistant.
What’s in the cupboard?
Players in: Adam Moffat (trade with Seattle), Andres Ramiro Escobar (loan from Dynamo Kiev), Hendry Thomas (trade with Colorado), Ryan Hollingshead (sabbatical), Brian Span (Djurgårdens IF), David Texeira (FC Groningen), Tesho Akindele (SuperDraft/Colorado School of Mines), Nicholas Walker (SuperDraft/Fairleigh Dickinson), Ronny Santos Mendoza (SuperDraft/Manta FC)
Players out: Kenny Cooper (trade with Seattle), Jackson (trade with Toronto), Kyle Zobeck (unattached), Ugo Ihemelu (unattached); Erick (unattached), David Ferreira (Independiente Santa Fe), Ramón Núñez (unattached), Bobby Warshaw (GAIS); Bradlee Baladez (unattached).
Key player: Texeira
Pareja struck late to pick up the 23-year-old Uruguayan forward on loan from FC Groningen in an attempt to bolster an attack that has struggled to score and even find the run of play. He’ll join Blas Perez and new loan signing Escobar to bring danger on the opposition. Escobar is also intriguing with his great pace.
The 45-year-old Colombia worked wonders with the young players of the Rapids, bringing Deshorn Brown and Shane O’Neill into MLS prominence. He’ll bring a respectd and steady hand to a team that was searching for fire and consistency.
Outlook: It’s hard to envision FC Dallas jumping right back into the postseason, with a melange of styles and players to meld together. Still this should be an improved squad record-wise, and they did finish just seven points behind Colorado’s mark. If Dallas benefits from Pareja as much as Colorado falters without him, well, who knows? I wouldn’t bet on this being their year, but they shouldn’t be a boring team to monitor.