Jan 23, 2013, 9:00 AM EST
(Through the week we’ll look at three Major League Soccer clubs per day, considering what they need to accomplish and what questions deserve answers during preseason training camps. Opening day in MLS is March 2.)
The trend line is moving the wrong direction around Frisco in suburban Dallas.
In 2010, FC Dallas seemed to be the better team in the MLC Cup final, although David Ferreira and Co. could not get past stubborn and stingy Colorado.
Schellas Hyndman’s team made the playoffs in 2011 – but then made a quick exit. That was better than in 2012, however, when the club’s late summer surge just wasn’t enough to make up all the ground lost during lengthy injury absences to key elements Ferreira, Brek Shea, George John, Ugo Ihemelu and Blas Perez.
There is clearly a big “to do” list in preseason, with plenty of questions to answer:
- Is Brek Shea part of the team or not?
The league’s earliest kickoff yet is adding some pressure to the ongoing Brek Shea transfer tussle. In the big picture, haggling over player value is probably an important and worthwhile exercise. But at micro-level, the team needs to know about its second-best player, about whether they need to go fetch a replacement.
In previous years, clubs had just a little more operating space; the March 2 kickoff means this needs a resolution ASAP.
Because if Shea is going to play at FC Dallas Stadium this year, he deserves a good, settled preseason training camp. That would give the big lefty the best chance to rally past last year’s injury-soaked, disappointing follow-up to the 2011 breakthrough.
Related, and whether Shea is part of the list or not, who are the outside midfielders on this club? Because there don’t seem to be many of them. Even Ricardo Villar, who has played along the outside at times, is awol now.
- What is Jackson’s role?
The club’s Brazilian utility knife has certainly been a valuable tool in Schellas Hyndman’s belt. He has played more or less all over the field, and what a nice asset that has been.
But he’s not really a striker. He’s not really trustworthy enough to be a central midfielder. Jackson’s best spot seems to be along the outside, whether as a defender or in the midfield.
It’s on Hyndman and his staff to sort out depth chart, pinpoint where they need the pacey, skillful veteran most, and then get Jackson settled into that role. It would surely be best for everyone.
We do know this: they don’t need the guy at center back, where the fortune of being able to select Walker Zimmerman on draft day has created something of a logjam at the spot. So, they need to get that sorted out over the next few weeks, too.
- Who fills the Daniel Hernandez role, and what’s the shape without him?
Hyndman had previously designed the system around Ferreira and Hernandez, a midfield destroyer and heady distributor, but one who was limited in range. So the formation has frequently been a hybrid 4-4-1-1 during Hyndman’s time, with a designated screener and a busy bee two-way man to hurry back and forth, supporting Ferreira on the attack and then sliding in next to the holding mid upon losing possession.
Incoming Frenchman Peter Luccin looks like the new Hernandez, so to speak. If he has a little more range in his central midfield game, the team may find itself settled into a more conventional 4-4-2.
MORE in ProSoccerTalk’s preseason camp series:
Next: Houston Dynamo
Nov 20, 2014, 3:55 PM EST
Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini are set to stay at Juventus with fresh deals.
Nov 20, 2014, 3:39 PM EST
Whelan: “I think Jewish people do chase money more than everybody else. I don’t think that’s offensive at all.”
Nov 20, 2014, 3:02 PM EST
Details on Geoff Cameron’s exciting new role with ProSoccerTalk.
Nov 20, 2014, 2:31 PM EST
Review of FIFA’s corruption report ordered, as Qatar, Russia scrutinized once again.
Nov 20, 2014, 1:32 PM EST
You get your say. After MLS held talks with cities in California, Nevada and Minnesota, is this the right move for the league?
Nov 20, 2014, 12:37 PM EST
Van Gaal confirms new issue is bothering Falcao.
Nov 20, 2014, 12:02 PM EST
Blind was ruled out for six months by United’s Twitter account… but there’s been a twist.
Nov 20, 2014, 10:54 AM EST
Here are the finalists for MLS 2014 awards. Agree? Disagree?
Nov 20, 2014, 9:46 AM EST
Could United pay a PL record fee for a defender?
Nov 20, 2014, 8:39 AM EST
Giroud back a month ahead of schedule to hand Gunners massive boost.
Nov 20, 2014, 8:05 AM EST
Cech set for a move to the Emirates in January according to reports.
Nov 20, 2014, 7:27 AM EST
Lampard’s loan to Man City could be extended.
Nov 19, 2014, 11:45 PM EST
Ugly scenes in the Ivory Coast.
Nov 19, 2014, 11:01 PM EST
Wow, I love the internet.
Nov 19, 2014, 10:21 PM EST
How would Jozy fair in the French league?
Nov 19, 2014, 9:45 PM EST
Making the argument for Neuer.
Nov 19, 2014, 8:59 PM EST
Ready yourself for the MLS Expansion Draft, slated for December 10th.
Nov 19, 2014, 8:01 PM EST
Dave Whelan, once again proving himself a dinosaur.
Nov 19, 2014, 7:05 PM EST
Meet uncle Kenny Wilshere, Trudy Mertesacker and Darren Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Nov 19, 2014, 6:21 PM EST
Dan Kennedy is heading to FC Dallas. See where all 7 players selected in today’s draft are heading.
- What to expect as USA, Premier League star Geoff Cameron joins ProSoccerTalk 0
- FIFA saga takes new twist: World Cup corruption report to be reviewed 0
- VOTE – Best choice for MLS expansion: Las Vegas, Sacramento or Minneapolis? 2
- Manchester United’s Radamel Falcao suffers new injury setback 0
- Mats Hummels to Manchester United rumors persist. Can it happen in January? 1
- Report: Arsenal have deal in place to sign Chelsea’s Petr Cech 1