2011 record (finish): 15-12-7(4th Western Conference, Eliminated Wild Card Round to New York)
Key additions: Hernan Pertuz, Blas Perez, Carlos Rodriguez, Scott Sealy, Matt Hedges
Key losses: Jackson, Marvin Chavez, Maicon Santos,
Projected starting XI: Kevin Hartman, Jair Benitez, George John, Ugo Ihemelu, Zach Loyd, Daniel Hernadez, Andrew Jacobson, Fabian Castillo, Brek Shea, David Ferreira, Blas Perez
Bold prediction: Blas Perez wins MLS Golden Boot with 16 goals. The Panamanian forward has been a prolific scorer everywhere he's gone and when FC Dallas has Brek Shea, David Ferreira and Fabian Castillo on the field with him, there are simply not enough defenders to stop everyone. Perez will likely go through some droughts, but when he's on the goals should come in bunches.
Biggest fear: Injuries and international absences hit at the wrong time and Dallas struggles offensively. Their top four talents (Shea, Ferreira, Castillo and Perez) are as good as any four in the league outside of LA, however there's not a whole lot behind them that will scare MLS defenses.
Schellas Hyndman and FC Dallas have a bad taste in their mouths after the perfect storm that ended last season in a spectacular downfall. A team that lost twice in 16 games through the middle of the season, saw a mix of injuries, fixture congestion and the tragic death of Bobby Rhine derail a once-promising season causing Dallas to win just two of their final 13 games in all competitions. However, the addition of some new talent and the return of talisman David Ferreira in the middle of the park has optimism very high in Frisco.
When you look at the FC Dallas starting XI, on paper this is clearly a team that is better than the one that went to MLS Cup in 2010. Brek Shea is the hottest young talent in American soccer, Ferreira has shown very well in limited action on his return from a broken ankle, and Perez has the skill set to be that proven No. 9 type center forward that Schellas Hyndman has been searching for. The defensive depth that was exposed so bad toward the end of 2011 has been reinforced by the signings of Hernan Pertuz, Matt Hedges and Carlos Rodriguez while the return of George John from his loan stint at West Ham ensures the starting back four will remain together for the third straight season.
The bad news for Dallas is the depth in front of the back four still remains an issue. The FCD bench will be loaded with defensive talent, but game changers that can win you a game off the bench do not abound with FC Dallas and given the potential international absences of guys like Shea and Perez, this could be a real issue. If Daniel Hernandez cannot prove at age 35 that he can keep up with MLS attackers, Bobby Warshaw may be thrust into the limelight at the important position of defensive midfield.
Still, without the fixture congestion of last season and with the attacking talent in the starting XI that FC Dallas does possess, the hoops could fly under the radar all season and show up at the most important time.
- Daniel Robertson, Big D Soccer