It was all going so well for FC Dallas last season—until it really was not. When it rains, it pours in Texas, and FC Dallas drowned in a Texas flood in 2017.
2017 can be summed up pretty swiftly for FC Dallas—there just was not enough depth on the roster and Mauro Diaz was not his best. But what does that mean for 2018?
You cannot look at FC Dallas’ roster and think they are not talented enough. The individual talent is there (it has been), and Diaz is looking a bit rejuvenated in the pre-season. But as the story goes, FC Dallas will be as good as Diaz can make them.
Off-season grade: C+
Santiago Mosquera is arguably the biggest move of the off-season in Frisco, and while all the excitement surrounding him is fun, we just have to wait and see if he can be that designated player that Dallas has been looking for since the departure of Fabian Castillo.
Walker Zimmerman departed for LAFC, but a new look backline for FC Dallas will be another point to watch. Homegrown Reggie Cannon will hold down the right back spot, and new man Reto Ziegler will attempt to fortify a backline still led by Matt Hedges. Dallas will have a new man in between the pipes in former New York Cosmo Jimmy Maurer, who had a brief loan stay in Dallas last season. A handful of homegrown signings including midfielder Brandon Servania, who had a stand-out freshman year at Wake Forest, round out what was a decent, but not spectacular off-season for FC Dallas.
Key Player: Mauro Diaz.
Diaz just simply hasn’t found what was so magical about him a couple of seasons ago after the devastating Achilles injury that he suffered on the final day of the 2016 season. But if pre-season is a bit of indication, Diaz has found his footing again. Only time will tell if the Argentine is the talisman that Dallas must have, but he will be the reason this team succeeds or fails. Too many questions still surround the newness of Mosquera to say he will be the missing piece.
Best case scenario: Western Conference finalists
Dallas can—and most likely will—get into the playoffs, but how far can they go? That likely depends on whether they can avoid the knockout round or not. They are certainly not favorites to come out of the West, but they’re a team that could make some noise in the playoffs.
Bold prediction: Reggie Cannon will be on the map
Hear me now—Reggie Cannon will be a USMNT regular by the end of the MLS season. Cannon has played on some of the most talented FC Dallas academy teams that include guys who have now made their way to the first team (and abroad). He was in the same age range as Paxton Pomykal, Weston McKinnie and Jesus Ferreria, and he shined on a team that won Dallas Cup featuring all of those players and other D-1 and pro prospects. Cannon was also one of the first players to train with FC Bayern Munich as apart of the recent partnership between FC Dallas and Bayern.
He is the modern fullback. He’s fast, he strong, he can defend and he can overlap with keen attacking skill. He is only 19, and it looks like Oscar Pareja is fully prepared to throw the youngsters to the fire this season. Despite a lapse of concentration which helped lead to Tauro’s only goal in last week’s CCL Round of 16 match, minutes will make him better.