Editorial (January 7, 2019)- FC Dallas walked into the 2018 season, a bit bruised and battered from their massive collapse in 2017. But they held on as the longest unbeaten team in MLS, and even got a few surprise wins in the summer, sticking at the top of the Western Conference table until the very end. They’re old habits reared their head again though, and they found themselves losing at home to the ten-men Portland Timbers in the knockout round.
FC Dallas 2018 Season in Review
A team that didn’t score a goal from the run of play over their final 5 regular season matchups had serious offensive issues. Naturally, we’d be inclined to award our extremely valuable and serious team MVP award to somewhere within the defense, but even then it wasn’t that convincing. The easy choice here is Maxi Urruti. Urruti was the only FC Dallas player to reach double digits in either goals or assists. He lead the team in both categories and was the sole creator for them, especially after the departure of Mauro Diaz.
What Went Right
They got results on the road! One thing that plagued the 2017 FC Dallas side was that they could never seem to get results away from home. An overall 11 point improvement for Dallas saw them grab 22 points on the road, opposed to just 15 road points in ’17. They were better defensively despite losing Walker Zimmerman. They scored the same amount of goals, and might have been better off if Mauro Diaz didn’t run off to the Middle East.
For the first time in a few years we saw something positive happen at Dallas in terms of player development. Chris Richards moved on to Bayern and stuck, making the permanent switch there this week. On top of that, Reggie Cannon emerged as a top fullback prospect in the US Player pool, having a strong breakout campaign on the right side of the Dallas back line.
What Went Wrong
FC Dallas improved at getting results, which I think truly became the difference between last year’s squad and this year’s. They got results on the road, including a big 3-2 win at Sporting KC, the first time they’d won there in years. But in the end their same old issues reared their heads, and the overall talent level on this team was exposed. Dallas are a solid team, but nowhere as good as those ahead of them in the standings.
They lost their sole creative midfielder in Mauro Diaz, and were never able to replicate his production in the center of the park. On top of that, Christian Colman continued to be the bust that he is, and Tesho Akindele was equally as bad. On top of that, Dom Badji didn’t quite give them what they thought they’d get when they made the trade, leaving Kellyn Acosta to flourish after leaving.
What To Build on for 2019
Honestly, there is going to be a ton of building for FC Dallas. They’ve lost their top goalscorer in Urruti, and while replacing him with Zdenêk Ondrášek will get some decent goalscoring in their, we’ve yet to truly see any sort of creative ability brought into the side that has never replaced Mauro Diaz and Fabian Castillo. That doesn’t even mention what they’ll do on the wings as they’re now without Roland Lamah. There are question marks all over the place for FC Dallas in 2019, and it will certainly be a challenge for Luchi Gonzalez in his first year in charge.
FC Dallas will open their 2019 campaign at home against the New England Revolution on March 2nd.