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MLS 2011 Previews: FC Dallas Hopes To Keep Momentum

Who do you see in the starting XI for First Kick?

The biggest strength of the FCD lineup heading into 2011 is the defense. Dallas allowed the fewest goals per game in team history last season and they return everyone except Heath Pearce from last year’s team. There’s a depth that not many teams can match and when Daniel Hernandez is added, Dallas is just plain tough to score on. They’ll look to attack down the wings with Shea and Chavez while freeing up space for David Ferreira to pick out the deadly pass or shot.

That said, here's who I seeing starting for First Kick: Hartman; Jackson, Loyd, John, Benitez; Hernandez, Chavez, Alexander, Shea; Ferreira, Rodriguez.

Which new player will have the biggest impact?

For FC Dallas, it’s tough because there are almost no new players. I’m going to say Andrew Jacobson. Jacobson is a new player for FCD coming from Philadelphia and I’ve been pretty impressed with him so far. While things didn’t quite work out for him in Philly, I think Jacobson is very well suited to play in Dallas 4-1-4-1 system in either Eric Alexander or Daniel Hernandez’s role.

Which player’s loss will be felt the most?

Without a doubt, Dax McCarty. Dax’s skill set worked very well as the box to box midfielder in front of Daniel Hernandez and Eric Alexander hasn’t quite shown the consistency yet to play at a high level. Some may say the loss of Heath Pearce will be significantly felt, but with Zach Loyd and Jackson on the squad, Dallas won’t miss a beat at right back.

At what point is this season considered success?

Now this is a tough question for a Dallas fan to answer. Last year was the best season in team history, but no trophies were won. I think it’s going to take a trophy for the season to be considered a success at this point.

Whose performance do you think will be most indicative of the season as a whole?

Dallas will live and die by how well Brek Shea and Marvin Chavez play on the wings. Dallas has, without a doubt, a championship caliber defense, but to be a top MLS team they will need Shea and Chavez to put fear into the opposition defenses and keep the double teams off of David Ferreira. When Chavez and Shea play well, it opens up the middle for the MLS MVP Ferreira to work his magic and Dallas is almost impossible to beat.

Who will be a breakout player for FCD this year?

Watch out for FCD homegrown forward Ruben Luna. The Mexican U20 International forward will be thrust into a bigger role for Dallas this year as either the second or third forward and could get 5 goals this year.

Can Dallas repeat their unprecedented success of last season?

I think as long as Kevin Hartman and Daniel Hernandez can stay fit, Dallas will be a tough team to beat. They set the MLS record for unbeaten games in a row last season with both of these guys fit and a defensive six of Kevin Hartman, Zach Loyd, Jair Benitez, Ugo Ihemelu and George John is a scary good unit. People may question whether Dallas has the goals in them to go as far as last season, but they may not need many goals to achieve theirs this season.

- Report by Daniel Robertson of Big D Soccer (FC Dallas blog)