[00:00:00] Speaker A: Um, yeah.
[00:00:09] Speaker B: I got a lot of problems with you people.
[00:00:12] Speaker A: Now you're gonna hear about it. Third degree. The third degree. Napa degree. The third degree nabod third degree.
Never get third degree. Third degree. Never care.
[00:00:30] Speaker C: Third degree.
[00:00:31] Speaker B: The podcast is brought to you by soccer 90. Com. Soccer 90 wants to give all listeners of third degree an exclusive Christmas special so you can get all those last minute gifts. I mean, it's after Christmas now. Let's call it a post Christmas gift. So from now until the end of December, the end of the year, all listeners of their degree get 30% off when you use the code third Xmas. That's three rdxmas at checkout. That's 30% off. What a bonus. Soccer 90. Com. Use the code third Xmas. Obviously it's going to take three to four days for shipping and processing to take place. Some exclusions do apply. Hello, fcdouse curious fan, or if perhaps you're listening during the holiday season, we'll call you FcDaus masochist. Welcome to third degree, the podcast. This is episode 243. You can probably tell by my voice. I am Buzz Carrick. Peter Welton and Dan Crook. Both are not around today for various work and family reasons, so consider this your Christmas holiday festivus present from me to you, as I will be here to talk all things FC Dallas with you guys. Hopefully you'll find this an entertaining and perhaps thought provoking podcast on the club.
[00:01:41] Speaker C: That is FC Dallas, the club we.
[00:01:42] Speaker B: All follow and hope to have good things happen in 2024. Perhaps today you might hear a few more pauses and it might be a bit more jittery than usual since I am doing it by myself, so forgive me if it's not quite as smooth and seamless as it might be ordinarily, with Peter hosting, I'll do my best to get through a couple of topics here and provide you guys, hopefully, a positive listing experience. All right, there's been a couple of things in the news. Let's go through a couple of those items and then we'll get to the bulk of the podcast a little bit later. The first piece of news item is that someone out there has drawn up the groups for the 2024 Leagues cup. They're not complete, of course, but the initial pairings are based off of the finishes in the Major League Soccer and in League MX in the last two segments, the Apatura and the Clasura for League MX, and effectively what's important to know, and I'll assume the math is correct at this point. I don't have any reason to doubt it because everyone seemed to agree that it was correct is that FC Dallas has been paired with Tigris for the league's cup group. Now there will be a third team that will be selected from the bottom sections of the standings. More than likely it'll be an MLS team that Dallas will get paired with and just the one mexican team. I believe that's the way that works. But the important thing to know is yes, it will be Tigris. That means, of course, that when Tigris comes and plays here, as they do in the league's cup, you're looking at probably a home crowd for Tigris. In my experience watching mexican teams play here in the metroplex, Tigris draws the best here in this town, in this market of any of the teams from Mexico. So you can expect a really good crowd for them when they come to town. And if you remember, they are a former partner of FC Dallas. For a while there was a partnership agreement between Tigris and FCD. In the Michael Hitchcock era of this club. They used to play a little Challenge cup called the real grand Plate.
So this will in a way be a revival of that. There was even a Dallas tribute Tigris jersey at one point that I don't even have any evidence they played in a game in it, but I believe they did. And certainly they sold those kits for consumption and there are player numbered and worn versions of it out there, so it was used at some point.
So that's an old relationship. We have to see how that game goes. That's obviously a team that does really well here and will make a great matchup for Dallas, a tough matchup for Dallas in that tournament and it should be an absolute ball to see that game go forward. I myself have really enjoyed league scop much more than I thought I was going to. I think it's a great addition.
Shutting down the league for a month is weird, but whatever. This puts a little pause on the season and gets us really closer to an aperture and closura type presentation and does actually help MLS line the league up with a little more with the european calendar, the world calendar in terms of play, because of this pause in the summer that maybe can be useful to the clubs in the league in years forward if they need to stop for in the middle of summer for some reason like a World cup. All right, FC Dallas news item number two, as Dallas was linked to a young player named Santiago Castro who is a 19 year old striker who plays for Velas Sarsfeld, which is a argentine club.
The price on him is reportedly about €7 million. I think it is in that ballpark. Dallas was linked to him as well as Bologna, which makes it probably very unlikely that Dallas would have a shot at him compared to Bologna. But still, it's a link that's out there, reported by some people that are quite believable and quite substantial. I cannot offer any substance on this story beyond the fact that the people that reported it are not fly by night operations. They're people of legitimate value. Now, could Dallas get this player in the wake of the Pepe money Dallas was willing to spend on Alan Velasco? But I don't know if they're willing to drop $7 million on a player without that kind of income coming in. At the same time, I don't know that they can compete with Bologna in terms of being able to offer attractive, high level of play. Yet Dallas is a team that will progress a player through and sell a player on.
The bottom line is, this is interesting. This is the kind of player that is a young, exciting attacker like Dallas teams that has gone for lately. Alan Velasco falls into the same category, in my opinion.
The kid that they've just signed, the romanian canadian kid, if you will, whose name is Ennis Sally, he falls into this category as well, perhaps.
Can Dallas swing this kind of transfer?
You know, it's in shouting distance to the kind of money they spend. I'm not super confident right now, but here's what I will say is important because of the level of people that have reported. This is legitimate. I believe it is legitimate. So it does make me question or not question. It does make me wonder perhaps if Dallas is out there looking for a pure, more nine kind of player.
[00:06:47] Speaker C: This guy fits that bill. The kid they drafted out of college.
[00:06:50] Speaker B: Number moved up to the third overall pick drafted fits this bill.
So it makes me wonder about things like Jesus Ferreira. They openly talked about the draft pick being successful. Maybe they could go a two striker system. If they were to sign a player like this, would they go to a two striker or would they move this guy in the middle and put, he is quite young, granted, 19 years old, but could he be a nine in the future? Could it be a nine now and play Jesus as a wing? It leads me to think that there are options out there with him looking at a nine, that they're not as married to a four three three as we might think. Now, granted, given this is a young player, but when you pay him $7 million for a player, you're expecting him to play. You don't spend $7 million on a player and then expect him to sit around and not play. This would be an Alan Vlasco level of come right in and get right into the games. I would imagine so. It makes me think that they're not married 100% to Jesus for the nine, but we'll see. Time will tell. When the window opens, we'll see if they go after this young player, Santiago Castro, or if they go for somebody else at the nine position.
Needless to say, it's getting a little crowded at that spot and we'll talk about that more in a little bit going forward. But it is intriguing. It is fascinating. This is the kind of signing I would love. A young player that would probably have to be a U 22 initiative, at least if not a DP. I believe if I've calculated it correctly, they could add a third U 22 initiative.
Or might this player be a DP? They can make moves that could create space for a DP.
[00:08:22] Speaker C: If this guy is the guy, or.
[00:08:24] Speaker B: If there's a different guy, that's the guy. Remember, one out of ten links actually is real and even less of them come to fruition. But this one looks like it was pretty legit based on who reported it.
All right, news item number three.
Five teams are reportedly getting third kits. And MLS. No, one of them will not be FC Dallas.
We've talked about this as many times before. There is a threshold, and the particular website that reported this mentioned that they believe, and it's been rumored to be, that that threshold is 100,000. Kits. That's a lot of kits. The point is that very few teams in MLS can swing the number of sales that it requires to get a third kit. FC Dallas is far from that mark. If it really is 100,000, I don't know that there's 100,000 people that call themselves FC Dallas fans, to be honest, let alone sell 100,000 kits. Consider, if you will, that the entire FC Dallas Academy has self reported from them about 5000 kids in it. And if each of them gets a kit or two, that's only 10,000. That's a long way from this 100,000 rumored number. What the exact threshold is, I don't know.
[00:09:32] Speaker C: It's very, very high.
[00:09:33] Speaker B: And you've only seen teams in the past, like Atlanta, pull it off in recent times to Seattle. Seattle has gotten to recently. So if it's up to five, that's good news for the league. But don't expect it to be FC Dallas.
All right, now we move on to what I want to do for the bulk of this podcast, and that is break down the FC Dallas roster by position.
Look at the bodies in those positions, and maybe think about how we feel about any particular spot on the field.
[00:10:02] Speaker C: How we feel about how that spot.
[00:10:04] Speaker B: Holds up, what kind of players might be in those spots. Remember, one of the imperatives that the coaching staff and the technical director here.
[00:10:12] Speaker C: Have talked about this year is being.
[00:10:14] Speaker B: Better to able handle the increased what they consider the increased workload of games with the additions of league cups and Open cup and Champions League. If you're in that scouts, isn't the travel here, the Heat here, all those things? They want to better be able to handle those phases. Now, you might think that Dallas with a 30 man roster should be able to handle that load easily. But remember that the bottom ten players are kids, are supplemental players. They're not developed. They're not full senior players in theory. They're not necessarily guys you can count on very much. So really, you're talking about Dallas dealing with an 18 to 20 man roster and trying to navigate these waters well.
[00:10:54] Speaker C: Dallas really wants to make their whole.
[00:10:56] Speaker B: 30 man roster be more viable. They want to try and use the supplemental roster with more viable players that can do fill greater loads of work in these games and help them better get through games and try and not have the load of injuries that they had last season. That was the big takeaway from season two of Nico Estevez's tenure is we need to better be able to deal with this workload. What they see as a higher workload than pass in this league.
So we'll go back to front and we'll start up front and we'll talk about each position and we'll go through.
[00:11:28] Speaker C: The depth chart and talk about each.
[00:11:29] Speaker B: Player and how they fit into that paradigm of how useful they can be.
And we'll start up nine with, of course, Jesus Ferra, who is a young DP, has been a young DP. Now he turns 24 right around Christmas, Christmas Eve, in fact, next year, which puts that birthday after the end of next season.
[00:11:50] Speaker C: So this should be his last year.
[00:11:51] Speaker B: As a young DP, which is positive.
[00:11:53] Speaker C: Because that keeps his cap hit lower.
[00:11:54] Speaker B: Than it would be if he was a senior DP. Unless, unless changes the rules again, which they do all the time, obviously. Jesus Ferreira, big time player, he's going to play a lot. He's going to play the bulk of games. But remember, he could miss games for call ups, et cetera.
[00:12:08] Speaker C: Et cetera.
[00:12:08] Speaker B: And if he gets hurt, then it's a real problem behind him. They have Jesus Jimenez, and as I go down this roster of nines, you'll see why. I'm afraid that they might actually hold on to Jesus Jimenez.
While he's not been highly impactful, he is a veteran. He does know how to play. You can put him in games and chew up minutes, perhaps even if they're not fantastic minutes, they might not be mistake ridden minutes. And you know how this coach here, Cosa Stevez, is about not blowing games and being able to fulfill your defensive know, a lot of that just includes being in the right place and playing in the right shape that he may not have confidence in some of these other names that we're going to go through here behind the top two.
[00:12:53] Speaker C: To be able to do that.
[00:12:55] Speaker B: Now, I think it's a terrible idea to keep him because of the massive salary hat hit you're going to take and how much you'd have to buy him down. I think they should use the buyout, but let's say for a minute they know. They'll say they're not going to go after this San Diego Castro. Look, clearly they're out there looking at nines.
Whether they're going to pull the trigger or not on Jimenez may depend on whether they get somebody or not. If they get nobody, they might stick with him, as terrifying as that sounds, because behind Jimenez we have Jose Mulatto. Well, how do we feel about Jose Mulatto? He certainly hits a lot of bangers at North Texas soccer club, but so far he's not been able to translate that to MLS.
[00:13:37] Speaker C: I watch a player struggle to create.
[00:13:40] Speaker B: Space and get off a clean opportunity at the MLS level. I'm not convinced that he's a contributor at this level. Behind him, we have the brand new number one overall. Well, not number one overall. First round pick Logan Farrington. Dows traded up about 300k in gam. That's appropriate of actual amount actually to trade up and get him.
[00:14:00] Speaker C: He's a player they're really excited about.
[00:14:02] Speaker B: People are talking big, big things about this player. I hope that they're correct. You guys heard me say if you listen to last week's podcast that I.
[00:14:09] Speaker C: Would prefer to center back. I still think that's true.
[00:14:11] Speaker B: I still would have preferred a center back.
[00:14:13] Speaker C: But if this guy's legit as they.
[00:14:14] Speaker B: Think he is, I will eat crow pie all day because the way they're.
[00:14:19] Speaker C: Talking about him, this guy would immediately.
[00:14:21] Speaker B: Become the number two striker on the team. If he's as good as they say he is, could he even be so good that you would change formations to play a two striker system or move hasis out wide? I suppose that's possible, but that's a.
[00:14:33] Speaker C: Lot of ifs, ands and buts.
[00:14:34] Speaker B: Right now we have no idea. We need to see him against Major League soccer competition, against college competition, where there's massive amounts of space, loads of time on the ball. He hits absolute bangers.
[00:14:46] Speaker C: He looks as good as Jose Milato does at North Texas soccer club.
[00:14:49] Speaker B: You see how that worked out. So until you see them play against MLS competition, you can't count on him, count on anyone, in fact, until you see him play at that level.
[00:14:58] Speaker C: So project there.
[00:15:00] Speaker B: Hopefully worth adding, but that's four players deep already at nine. Also include there Malik Henry Scott, the homegrown player they just signed out of college.
[00:15:12] Speaker C: He's Tarek Scott's older brother.
[00:15:16] Speaker B: For me, Malik is more of a nine who can play a little wing and Tarek's more of a wing can play a little nine. Some people feel it's the other way, whichever one you want. Both of them are home grounds. Both of them are unproven. Both of them are going to play a lot in North Texas, but technically they're on the FCD Dallas roster and will be loaned down. So they are part of this mix.
[00:15:33] Speaker C: If other guys get sold off or.
[00:15:35] Speaker B: Other guys get bought out, and you're talking about having bodies coming in and fill minute loads, you might be looking at these guys maybe a little more later in the season than early in the season, but they should be viable candidates to play, particularly Malik, who's older. If he's not going to prove himself real quick at 22, I think he is off the top of my head. He's only got to have a pretty short window to prove himself. You're going to expect to see him get into the first team squads by midseason, or you're going to be worried that maybe it's not happening or he better be crushing it at North Texas. Really, he's going to have a tight window.
So at nine, that's five bodies, depending on which one you want to count Malik or Tariq as the nine.
How many of those guys can you count on? Well, Jesus.
And then we'll see.
Maybe Farrington can come through like they think, but it's not a surprise. Dallas is out there in the nine market. Based on these reports we're seeing of who they might be interested in or were interested in, perhaps before they got that'll tell you something.
[00:16:36] Speaker C: Wow.
[00:16:37] Speaker B: What would that tell us about Logan Farrington? If they quit going into the nine market because they think that highly of this kid? Wow, that would be something. By the end of training camp, we'll know a lot more about what they think about this kid. Based on that, let's move on to the wing. I'm not going to differentiate between left and right wing because Dallas in particular likes to flip wings all the time. They like to do it both internally to a single game, but also from game to game. There's a desire quite often for switch foot wings, which is a strong foot on the opposite side so you can cut inside and shoot.
[00:17:07] Speaker C: But also they play guys with a.
[00:17:09] Speaker B: More traditional sort of setup. Paul Ariola, being right footed, mostly plays on the right, but he's expressed a desire to play on the left some so he can cut inside and shoot like Alan Vasco does. On the other know, we saw Bernard Camugo, who's a lefty, come up through the academy mostly playing on the right, but he's mostly a lefty, so you might see him more on the right wing coming in and shooting on his left foot with the first team. We'll see. So as of today, we're going to pencil in the two starters as Bernard Kamungo and Paul Ariola. Those are the two choices that seems quite obvious for now. We'll come to Alan Velasco in a minute.
Those seem likely to be the guys.
There's a rumor, of course, that Paul Ariola might be of interest to some league MX teams.
[00:17:52] Speaker C: He is a DP.
[00:17:53] Speaker B: He's the DP most likely to be bought down because he's a senior DP. If you wanted to clear a DP spot behind Areola and Kamungo, probably you're looking at Eugene Ansa now. Again, I probably should have included Eugene Ansa in the nine conversation because while we saw him play more wing than nine, he is capable of playing as a nine. And we did see him there more towards the end of the know. He might make more sense as your second nine than Jesus Amena's might right now, certainly than Mulatto might. But either way, for now, since he's played more wing than nine, we'll keep him in the wing conversation.
Then you have Dante Seeley, who, since coming back from PSV, played quite a bit more minutes than we expected, even translating to wingback sometimes, which I hated. But it was the thing that happened.
You have Ennis Soli, the new canadian romanian 18 year old signing that's a U 22 initiative. That's a player that they're going to want to invest playing time in because the idea is to buy young and sell high. He has a multiple year contract, so it's not a rush on him. And coach did say don't expect him to walk in day one and be in there constantly, but you have to look at him as a guy they're going to want to invest time in in a way that puts him in the same category as Dante Seeley. So there's a little bit. And Tarek Scott, who we should also mention in this category. So you've got three young players and Bernard camouflage for that matter, is young also, that all need minutes and development.
[00:19:13] Speaker C: So there's a little bit of a.
[00:19:14] Speaker B: Log jam in terms of that development there. Some of those guys probably Tarek Scott will play a lot at North Texas soccer club coming off his MCL ACL double injury. But if you look at wing as a collective know, we think Kamunga is ready to start. Ariola of course, and Eugene Ansa probably start capable and start a category. And then we're looking at Sally Dante Seeley and Tarek Scott as developmental projects.
That's a lot of question marks there. That's not too deep at, you know, one each proven and then one guy we think is ready. And a lot of development, a lot of not so far through the nine and through the wings, we're a little shaky perhaps. We're not really sure. There's a lot of question marks in a lot of these positions, which is not necessarily making us feel super great. Even Ariel, that we really want to see a bounce back season from him. If he plays again like he did in 2023, that's going to be a real problem. Let's move on to the central midfield and we're kind of going to lump.
[00:20:15] Speaker C: All these together because of the way that they move these players a lot.
[00:20:18] Speaker B: I'm putting Alan Velasco firmly in this.
[00:20:21] Speaker C: Section of the roster we saw in the latter half of the year. He was used almost exclusively as that attacking mid free eight, call it a ten, if you will, depending on the.
[00:20:30] Speaker B: Shape, single pivot or double pivot.
[00:20:33] Speaker C: He's fully entranced in that position. He is also out for most of, in my mind, the year. They have not indicated they want to.
[00:20:39] Speaker B: Do a season ending IR on him, but they will do, I assume, what.
[00:20:45] Speaker C: They call these short term, if you.
[00:20:47] Speaker B: Will, injured reserve type moves, which are a minimum of six games out.
[00:20:53] Speaker C: When you use one of these short term injured reserves. You can get roster relief, but not cat relief.
[00:20:59] Speaker B: So this allows them perhaps to keep a homegrown up with the first team rather than down with the second team with North Texas.
[00:21:08] Speaker C: So basically, Alan Velasco, I think his roster spot will be filled by some.
[00:21:12] Speaker B: Of these homegrowns they just signed, but.
[00:21:14] Speaker C: In that same sort of grouping with him. Of your eights, your linking eights, your.
[00:21:19] Speaker B: Attacking eights, your free eights, however you.
[00:21:21] Speaker C: Want to describe them, other than Alan.
[00:21:22] Speaker B: Vlaska, we have Sebastian legit.
[00:21:25] Speaker C: He did not have as good a 2023 as he did 2022. Obviously everyone's aware of the off field problems and the injuries he had.
[00:21:32] Speaker B: Hopefully he rebounds.
[00:21:34] Speaker C: Also in this discussion is Paxton Palmacol, and I think between those three guys, you're looking at where your starters are going to come from any given game. And with Velasco out a great deal, that's a lot of weight on legit and Pomokol for a great deal of the time.
Now, you might wonder where Asir Iar Mendy is in this conversation. The new, great new spanish player we.
[00:21:54] Speaker B: Have, based on what we're looking at.
[00:21:56] Speaker C: In terms of roster moves, with Fukundo Quinone departing and the way I Mendy played a lot of six down the stretch, it looks like going into the season, I amndy is your primary six.
Now, you might play a fair bit of double pivot, in which case you might see him and Paxton kind of swapping in and out of those roles, but for the most part, we're penciling in E. R. Mendy as your number one holding mid with Liam Fraser, the canadian homegrown, which makes him a domestic.
[00:22:24] Speaker B: Player, as the holding mid also, and.
[00:22:27] Speaker C: That leaves us a bunch of unproven young eights behind all that. So holding mid seems fine. You can include in this conversation Nolan Norris. He's played more midfield than center back.
[00:22:40] Speaker B: Of late with North Texas.
[00:22:43] Speaker C: He played left back with the national team when he was with them, but.
[00:22:47] Speaker B: We think he's a six maybe, or an eight maybe.
[00:22:51] Speaker C: So he factors in here you have seeking assembling who at one point looked like he was relatively promising but then fell off of big time in terms of playing time. Can he regain the coach's affection? You have Alejandro Rozura, who was, we.
[00:23:05] Speaker B: Think, a hybrid contract who went with.
[00:23:07] Speaker C: North Texas last year and then has progressed to an essaydouse homegrown deal. I assume he'll play the bulk of.
[00:23:13] Speaker B: This season again at North Texas.
[00:23:15] Speaker C: You want to see him dominate at that level. We haven't seen that yet. And then Thomas Pondeka, who was the latest North Texas straight from North Texas signing, who was originally a open trialist, he had a really great back end of the year. As a wing he didn't look so great, but the last third of the season he played as an eight. He looked terrific. Sort of a free attacking kind of eight. So he's in that mix. But again, younger guy, unproven guy at.
[00:23:38] Speaker B: The endless level, raw.
[00:23:40] Speaker C: We don't know we're going to get there. So kind of a light conversation in there.
[00:23:45] Speaker B: Allen's out for a long time, so.
[00:23:47] Speaker C: You'Re really looking at legit and Palmako and maybe Seeki as guys you can rely on. Maybe you mix in Yaramindi as an eight and start Frazier if you need to rather than having Yaramindi as a six and Frazier as the backup and then project players in Pondeca, Urzura, Nolan Norris. So again, when we talk about this desire to have the roster filled with more guys that can help you get through the weight of this schedule, I'm.
[00:24:15] Speaker B: Not sure I'm seeing a lot of that yet.
[00:24:17] Speaker C: So there's a heavy top load here, but then a light bottom load. And there may be some activity at this position among these triple position here, whether it be some kind of six that you can make er, many more of an eight.
Never forget this year that the ability to take homegrowns and send them down.
[00:24:39] Speaker B: To North Texas gives you a lot.
[00:24:41] Speaker C: More roster freedom than you might have before. I think there might be a desire.
[00:24:45] Speaker B: To bring in one or two young.
[00:24:47] Speaker C: In their career, but maybe more established than some of these homegrowns are.
[00:24:50] Speaker B: We'll see.
[00:24:52] Speaker C: In the years past I would have said this mold fit perfectly with what acid Alice always has done. But this coach doesn't seem to want those 1718 year old kids quite as much unless they're Alan Blaska. All right, let's move on to the back line. Left back. This was pretty entrenched. Marco Farfan, Sam Junka, man, either one of those guys can start. Coach seems to like Marco Farfan better but Sam Junka is terrific. What a great addition he was. He can play over the field. Awesome. Also at left back you have Isaiah Parker, who so far has not been able to break in generation Adidas player. So roster protection, no cap hit, did not do well at San Antonio like we kind of expected. There's an injury there and that kind of cost him a bit and they struggled to get back into the lineup. I still think there's a tight mismatch problem here, but there's just not going to be really a lot of room for him on this roster. This is going to be tough. I mean, maybe there's an expectation that he has to be on the roster, but I don't know. We're starting to get way over 30 players here and there just may not be room. So stand by on Parker. Something's got to give here somewhere in this roster.
Let's go to right back. We'll skip over center back for now and go to right back. This one also is pretty entrenched. Giovanni Jesus is also out for a good chunk of the season again, probably half the season, so he'll be in before Alan Velasco. So again, you can have some roster relief on him out of the gate, but not cap relief. Obviously, opening day Emoto Amasi is your starter. They kept urban indelay. I was a bit surprised by that, but he's your converting from wing out of Indiana to right back. He's played a little bit more of.
[00:26:28] Speaker B: It for North Texas than he has for FC Dallas.
[00:26:31] Speaker C: We have seen a little bit there of FC Dallas, but he also still plays a fair amount of wing for North Texas. I'm really not sure how he fits in grand scheme. We're going to have to wait and see on him, but for now he's this backup right back. There might be some interesting questions that have to be asked when Giovanni Jesus is activated at some point, perhaps near midseason, then you might have to make some room here. We'll see how that goes. Maybe there's a midseason loan for Indole in the cards. We'll see. Again, this is a position that actually looks like you want to look. Two first team starter guys at the top, project at the bottom.
[00:27:08] Speaker B: That's how you want to look.
[00:27:09] Speaker C: The question is just how you massage the roster to keep the project around while you have these two guys that are potential starters going at it. One of them will be out for.
[00:27:19] Speaker B: A good chunk, of course.
[00:27:21] Speaker C: All right, let's move to center back.
[00:27:22] Speaker B: This one's tough.
[00:27:24] Speaker C: This is a problem. In fact, we've already talked about Nolan Norris, who we think is more of a midfielder than a center back at this point. So let's not talk about him in this position other than a passing comment right now. There's two starters here on this team at this position, Nicosa Tafari and Sebastian DiBiaga. You might think that sounds great, but I've always felt that you want to carry five center backs total and three of them be starter capable, maybe even a fourth that you could have a fringe starter like Ahmed Corsa was last year.
So outside of Nicosi Tafari, great Sebastian Diaga, terrific season. You had Jose Martinez last year who struggled with physical problems, struggled with the heat, and they've moved on from him. They have not replaced that body.
There should be in our way of thinking and clearly the coach's way of thinking, too. Most of last year there should be three starter capable players here and you should have a rotation among those three. So we're expecting there to be a signing here. Stay tuned on that and after that you have projects again. Norris we've mentioned, we think is more of a midfielder now, but you have the two draft picks that Dallas made in the second and third round. Turner Humphrey is a kid out of Oregon that maybe is a nice project with Ahmed Corsa being moved on from, although they did say they were still talking to him. Maybe that's a fallback emergency if camp opens up, but Turner Humphrey has a shot to make this senior roster here, the first team roster. Excuse me, just based on the math and the potential and things that Dow said about him when he was picked, I'm not sure I love that. I think a player taking the second or third round really needs to be playing in North Texas for a year. But we'll see because if you don't have him and we think Norris is more of a midfielder, not only do you need to sign a frontline starter like Martinez was, you then need to sign a project starter like Corsa was.
So maybe they'll see what they have in camp in this draft pick Turner Humphrey and then decide if they need course or not. And they also have another draft pick they made at Mads Westergren out of SMU. On paper, a better resume than Humphrey.
[00:29:32] Speaker B: The other draft pick, but Humphrey they.
[00:29:33] Speaker C: Picked more on potential and upside, I think, than Westergren. Plus, Westergren's got an international slot requirement that's going to be really tough for him if he decides to stay here at FC Dallas. He'll have to play the year at North Texas, I think. I don't think there's any way in heck you get that guy on the first team roster, but a project worth discussing. I think if he were to stick around. The question is like is Humphrey good know to make the senior roster and as your fourth guy or is he the fifth guy because Nolan's not a center back anymore. If he's the fifth guy, you need to so there's some work to be done at centerback for sure here. A starter and maybe a project. Not a project, but a mid tier guy like Corsa was. Unless Humphrey's that guy. Lots of questions. Camp is going to be fascinating at centerback. Lastly, brings us to goalkeeper Martin paws, obviously frontline starter, one of the best in the league. Tremendous Antonio Carrera.
[00:30:27] Speaker B: Upside looks great.
[00:30:28] Speaker C: I think a big reason they did not pick up Jimmy Mauer's options. They think Antonio is ready.
There is a school of thought. I've expressed, that maybe there's better to challenge Antonio Carrera with some starts at a USL championship or maybe a lower mexican team or something, somewhere he can get some games. It doesn't have to be the whole season, maybe like five or ten games to really take him outside his comfort zone. Maybe like a lower level Europe, whatever you can swing that can challenge this young man and progress his game. Invest in him. Not alone. To get rid of him alone like you did with Jesus Ferreira or Brandon Sylvania or Tuomasi. These loans where they're going to play and be challenged, that would be great for him. At the other hand, Drew Keyshawn, one of the best goalkeeper coaches in the league, being here and training with that guy game after game after game and week after week to week and day to day to day in training. It's huge. Don't undersell that. And then that's it. They need a third keeper for sure.
[00:31:25] Speaker B: Period. Need a third keeper.
[00:31:27] Speaker C: If they miss on a, maybe they call back Jimmy Mauer and bring in a veteran. If they loan out Antonio, then again, maybe they call back Jimmy Mauer. Maybe there's another journeyman out there. Maybe there's another young guy that they can fill in a slot with. You at least already need one third keeper. The guy they've signed for North Texas, is 18. There's no way that that guy's going to walk in and be ready for the MLS. That's not the point with him. That's a project down there. That's a typical north Texas diamond in the rough. The next name out of the academy, other than Julian I. Stone, which we know they're attempting to sign, but it's not looking good. Then you go down to like a 1617 year old kid. That's not going to work either. So some questions about here. A goalkeeper, even if you keep Antonio in town, you need a third guy. And I think there's something to be said for challenging him and maybe bringing in somebody else, bringing in Mauer back and then bringing in another guy for a short period of time or writing Mauer and with a ride of recall career when you need him to, or when you feel like he's accepted that challenge and beaten that challenge that you find for him. That 510 15 games bring him back midseason, maybe as the number two guy and slide Jimmy down to three.
Still some question marks at goalkeeper there, obviously. Clearly.
[00:32:41] Speaker B: So he went through all that and.
[00:32:42] Speaker C: You can see that there's still one or two spots they've got to solve. You need at least one, probably two center backs, one starter, one mid. You need at least one goalkeeper for sure, whether it's a third guy or whether it's a second. And Antonio is going to go somewhere.
[00:32:57] Speaker B: For a little bit.
[00:32:57] Speaker C: You might even need two goalkeepers if you find a really great spot for Antonio for a whole year. And all these names we've talked about already are adding up to more than 30 players. So there's something's got to give here in some capacity.
[00:33:09] Speaker B: The tradition of festivus begins with the.
[00:33:12] Speaker C: Airing of grievances, and we haven't even really talked about how the team actually gets better. And that's something we've been harping on for a while now, is if you do all those moves we just talked about, the center backs and then the keeper, your roster will in most ways be done and finished.
But is it better?
Man, you're counting a whole lot on the draft pick that you just nabbed. Logan Farrington being good. You're counting a whole lot on Paul Ariola returning to 2022 form instead of 2023. You're counting a whole lot on Sebastian legit returning to form. You're counting a whole lot on Alan Velasco coming back early and providing a punch in the playoff chase or into the playoffs over the last month of the season at best. And I don't think there's any way in hell you walk off of the rehab ground onto the training field and make an impact like that. How good will Giovanni Jesus be when he comes back midseason? Can Asiri Armeni be the frontline six? Do you have enough depth to get through these mid pack games? Are any of these youngsters Norris? Is he going to make a progression?
Is Tariq Scott the other homegrown who spent a year out with a double knee? Is he going to bring something? What about Eugene Ansa? Has he provided anything yet? Is it six months in now? Are we going to see a bounce from him? Is Kamungo going to break through 1012 goals? Maybe that's the one that actually has the highest chance, right? I mean, we've seen how goal pure that kid is when he gets in front of net. Maybe he's the twelve to 15 goal guy you're missing. Maybe.
Is Jesus going to be here or in national team camps? Or is he going to stay healthy this time? There's a whole lot of ifs, man.
And maybe this is the way it just has to be in a Major League soccer. When you're a team with middle of the league budgets like FC Dallas is credit to them for lately being not on the bottom. They've been in the middle. Good on them. They're working on filling in some of these bottom, mid to bottom roster like a Sam Jonka types, which were phenomenal ad last year. A lot of that stuff helps them grind out a few points here and there and keep them in the playoffs.
If all those things hit, will they be back to like 3rd, 4th in the west? Potentially like they were in 22? I don't know. Why not? All that looks good. If it all hits, this team looks pretty good.
But if all that hits, and what are the odds that all that hits, are they going to make headway and climb the standings in the west if LAFC collapses? Maybe, I suppose you could because they're moving on from a bunch of big names. They're going to kind of reload. But Seattle, same thing they were already reloading last season and moving on from those big names. Those teams are still good. St. Louis looked pretty good.
Have you done anything to make yourself better than those teams?
Man, I don't know.
Not unless this Logan Farrington kid is real. Like 15 to 20 goals real. Not unless Kamungo is blowout 15 goals real. Because remember, that's the number you got to add 15 goals to get in that conversation.
If those two guys. Because if Farrington is real as a nine, that'll take away some of the tolls from you. Still, you'll need those three guys to all be banging in goals, really, or the rebound of just not. I'm just not super optimistic. When you have a DP like Alan Vlasco out for the chunk of the time and you have guys getting a little longer in the teeth that you need to come back and look really mean. If you're going through the year with Sebastian legit looking like he looked this year, that's a lot of weight on Paxton Palmerkov. With Velasco out, Paxton's having to carry every game. We know he can't do that. We know he can't play every single game. He needs to play about two thirds of the games. Maybe then all of a sudden you're looking at Yara, Mindy and Paxton both having to play a huge load, with Frazier having to start a lot of games rather than a couple of know if legit crashes out and Velasco is not back, I mean, that's tough. This roster is in a fragile state over the next month.
It needs some shoring up in a couple of key spots. We got to figure out how they're going to construct this thing because right now there's a bunch of kids that we know little about. Mulatto Farrington, Dante Seeley, Tariq and Malik Henry. Scott, Nolan Norris, Herbert Endelay, you know, even Antonio Carrera. At the MLS level, there's a lot of guys here seeking assembling. Has had great moments, but not consistent. Ennis Sally, the new kid. Canadian. Romanian. What has he done in MLS? Nothing. We have no idea what we're going to get in him. Eugene Ansa, has he proved himself yet? That's a whole bunch of kids and a whole bunch of mid tier guys that we don't know what we're going to seek. We don't know what we're going to get, and I don't want to be too pessimistic.
Ali Urza, another homegrown. Thomas Pandeca, another sonic from north Texas. That's like half the roster is unproven at this level. At this MLS level. They talked about deepening the roster and being able to better survive these tough loads and we're looking at like half the roster being unproven at the MLS level. Isaiah Parker, unproven at this level.
Even Dante Sieley, who played a bunch, is not converting into numbers in order to keep those spots and keep that playing time.
I just feel that this roster is in a real fragile spot. I really do. And I think as I went through position by position, you can see that the first guy we're pretty confident in and then it falls off to projects and unknowns. And when you're carrying the load of games that these teams do in the league and leagues, cup and open cup, they talked about trying to deepen this thing and I'm not seeing it right now. It looks real thin and real projecty. Not young, not super young. These guys are all 18, 1921, 22. They're not babies, they're not 15 year old. Brian Reynolds kind of homegrowns, but unproven for sure. I mean, only one or two positions have proven MLS level players in them. Left back, right back minus an injury.
That's about it.
I don't think even at wing goes too deep and eight doesn't go too deep. And not with not Velasco out and not with seeky not quite banging it yet.
I just have so many questions and center back is a mess. But again, the window won't open until mid to late January.
Don't expect deals early in January. Expect them more in late January as they try and massage this roster to a better spot. And really, in the end, how is the roster going to be better? How is this team going to be better? That's the big question. All right, I told you guys last week that this would be the airing of grievances. That's the part we just finished.
I started the episode saying my gift to you was a holiday special of myself ranting, raving, discussing FC Dallas, and then the very end, the airing of grievances of boy, which way is this thing going to go? Because it's right now. There's lots and lots of questions. The proof will be in the pudding. The proof will be on the field. We'll see it in the spring. We'll see how it looks. We'll see how it comes together as the season starts. Every year you hope for the progression of players. Every year you hope the young guys are going to come through.
Obviously we're still waiting for that. But there doesn't right now appear to be macro level moves to make this team better. Maybe they all happened middle of season last year. Maybe Yara, Mindy and Eugenatsa are the two answers that will make this team actually better. We'll see.
[00:41:16] Speaker B: Third degree the podcast has been brought to you by soccer 90. Com. Soccer 90 wants to give listeners of.
[00:41:21] Speaker C: Third degree an exclusive holiday special so.
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[00:41:54] Speaker C: All right, happy holidays everybody. Have a happy new year. Peter Dan, hope everything's going great with you guys, with your family and work emergencies.
Everybody out there hope you had a great holiday. I hope you have a great new year. We'll be back next season. Next season next week, which will actually start our 6th season of this podcast. That's incredible. And our 27th season of covering this team. Hope you guys like what we do. Hope you guys support us on the Patreon. Take advantage of that 30% off code through the end of the week from soccer 90. That's all we got today. Hopefully you FC Dallas Curious fan enjoyed this podcast and we'll catch it next week on another episode of Third Degree, the podcast. See ya.
[00:42:37] Speaker A: Third degree the third degree, never podcast.
Third degree the third degree, never podcast.
Third degree, never get third degree, never podcast.