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MLS Team Preview: FC Dallas

 Posted by on February 11, 2014 at 9:19 pm  FC Dallas, Global Football Today, MLS
Feb 112014

Record Last Season (W-D-L): 11-11-12 (8th Place in the Western Conference)

Coach: Oscar Pareja (First Season)

Key Additions: Adam Moffat-MID (Trade), Brian Span-MID (Weighted Lottery), Tesho Akindele-FWD (MLS Superdraft)

Key Departures: Kenny Cooper-FWD (Trade), David Ferreira-MID (Out Of Contract)

Player To Watch In 2014: Adam Moffat. FC Dallas traded one veteran for another when they dealt striker Kenny Cooper in exchange for central midfielder Adam Moffat. Although the Scottish international is more of a holding midfielder by trade, he’ll be expected to fill the void left by departing playmaker David Ferreira. With Ferreira gone, Moffat will be looked to for leadership and new coach Oscar Pareja will likely want the Hoops’ attack to through him as often as possible.

Outlook: Although the Moffat-Cooper trade involved two very big names and Tesho Akindele was a bit of a surprise pick in the Superdraft, FC Dallas’s biggest offseason move was luring former player Oscar Pareja away from Colorado Rapids (who are still, as of Tuesday night, without a replacement). Pareja played in Dallas from 1998-2005 and then coached from 2005-2011 before taking over as head coach in Colorado in 2012. The Colombian international did well with Colorado in 2013 taking a very young squad to the fifth and final playoff spot in the West.

Anyone familiar with Hunt Sports Group knows how much they love to keep things “in house” and they went to great lengths to get their man. They’ve also given him a roster that experience very little turnover this past offseason. Veteran defenders Zach Loyd and George John are back to lead the back line, the midfield is largely unchanged, and 2013 leading scorer Blas Perez is back. This 2014 FC Dallas team should be much better than the one Pareja left in Colorado. The question is: can he get more out of them than Schellas Hyndman?

Moffat will get the most attention (and deservedly so) but the Hoops also picked up former Virginia midfielder Brian Span via weight lottery after his contract with Swedish club Djurgårdens IF was not renewed. Span started 39 of 41 possible games in his two years at Virginia where he recorded 12 goals and eight assists as a forward. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts to a new role in midfielder; perhaps he will become the new playmaker with the departure of Ferreira.

Dallas got off to a hot start in 2013 and faded down the stretch before failing to make the playoffs. Although he’s a fan favorite in Frisco, Pareja will likely feel some pressure if he can’t take this group to the playoffs in 2014.

Best Possible Outcome: The largely unchanged roster gets some stability in the middle of the field from Adam Moffat and takes the next step forward. Loyd and John should anchor the defense and if Blas Perez is healthy, he’ll be good for another 12-13 goals. Oscar Pareja picks up where he left off in Colorado and leads the Hoops to the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

Worst Possible Outcome: If Perez is unable to stay healthy, there is a serious lack of depth at the forward position with Cooper and Ferreira gone. The team has dealt with a rash of injuries going back to 2012 and they can ill afford their top scorer to miss significant time this season. They won’t be worse than Chivas, but Colorado and Vancouver will be expected to take big steps back this year and San Jose is a question mark with Frank Yallop departing for Chicago. There’s really no excuse for Dallas to miss the playoffs this year.

Adam Uthe

VP of Content Development for GFT and proud supporter of Columbus Crew (MLS) and Liverpool FC (EPL). @AUtheGFT

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