Team: FC Dallas
Head coach: Schellas Hyndman
Last Years Finish: 12-4-14 3rd in the West, 5th Overall
If you would’ve told me last season that FC Dallas was going to be a decent tough side at home and make an upset against at the time defending MLS Cup Champions Real Salt Lake, and then would take a trip to the Home Depot Center, where the Los Angeles Galaxy led the table for the Supporters Shield, and scored three goals past them to reach their first MLS Cup Final to lose in extra time to the Colorado Rapids, I would have to tell you that it was a pipe dream.
But all of that did happen to the hoops of Big Dallas and even though they have made several trades as well as signing some of their top academy prospects to fill the roster, something tells me that head coach Schellas Hyndman has got something brewing down in the Dallas area and he feels very confident that FC Dallas has another run into the playoffs for that Phil Anschutz Trophy for 2011.
Key Roster Additions: Maykel Galindo is a strong pickup for the hoops as he is explosive and strong with the ball. After a down year with Chivas-USA, let’s see what he can do in a Hyndman formation. But according to Bobby Rhine from the FC Dallas website his lack of time with the first team could be a problem and I’m assuming that means coming off the bench for him.
Alexis Pradiehails from France could be a solution in the midfield with the current injuries to the club, but at the moment the international pedigree is lacking.
Key Roster Losses: At the moment Jeff Cunningham moving back to the Columbus Crew is a bit of a negative since he was a strong player coming off the bench or the occasional spot starter. Losing a veteran like that can be a problem unless you have the depth to recover. Heath Pearce being traded for draft picks to Chivas-USA is also a bit of a head scratcher, but something tells me that the young academy players being signed might also be the reason he dealt.
Players to watch out for: Eric Alexander has shown that he can tear down his opponents all by himself and score a big goal when needed or to set up his teammates. What he has done to the New York Red Bulls down at Pizza Hut Park was absolutely amazing and he deserves a call-up to the US National Team. David Ferriera is also another one of those top players that came over from South America and has shined brightly in the midfield. If he can continue to have explosive runs and score those timely goals, FC Dallas is on their way to another trip to the MLS Cup Final.
Predictions and ideas: This will be the first time that FC Dallas will reach the CONCACAF Champions League and starts in the Qualifying Round against an unknown opponent till the draw in June or July. I think that they have a great chance to reach the Group Stage and prove that MLS has made great strides in getting better. When it comes to this season it’s going to be interesting how the team handles the extra workload in their fixtures. But I have a good feeling they will make the playoffs and when they get to the Western Finals, they could be a goal shy of making a return to the MLS Cup Final.