FRISCO - Lots to talk about in this week's Mailbag, so let's dive right in:
Let's talk tifos. What changed to allow the pulley systems on the stage? And how awesome were the tifos last game? – Luke Hoch
The tifos from both ends of the stadium were beautiful. The El Matador/Lone Star Legion combo tying in a meme from one of my favorite childhood shows, while also bringing back the Open Cup Final was hilarious. The Dallas Beer Guardians had a stroke of bad luck with their first attempt at the pulley system, but pulled together to still show off their fitting tifo of Papi and his personal unfinished business of bringing home an MLS Cup (and I can say the work on that one started well before Kansas City’s unfinished business was unveiled a week prior).
As for that pulley system itself, the change is thanks in part to the newly-formed Supporters’ Forum – a formal feedback and discussion vehicle to continue growing the relationship between the front office and the most passionate fans of the club. You can see the full recap of the first meeting here, and you can expect to see many cool things coming from this Forum in the future.
Is it true Mauro isn't a DP anymore? If true you think we will get a DP winger or another DP midfielder? – Mario Soto
Mario, you are correct that Mauro Diaz is – by official MLS roster considerations – a Designated Player. That does not mean his contract has changed, it does not mean he is making any less money, it simply means that FCD has ‘bought down’ his contract by applying Allocation Money to a portion of his salary, bringing his remaining total under the league salary cap maximum. Complicated yes, but without getting terribly far into MLS roster rules, this very important for a few reasons.
One, by buying down Mauro’s contract and opening a DP spot, the team was able to sign Anibal Chala and Cristian Colman this offseason (Carlos Gruezo is a DP player as well). With only three Designated Player spots available per team, Dallas needed to buy down one of the four players (Diaz, Chala, Colman and Gruezo) that could occupy those spots.
Why Mauro? Very simple. DPs over the age of 23 carry a larger salary cap charge (a maximum of $480,625) than players that are under 23 years old. Designated Players 21-23 years old carry a flat rate salary cap charge of $200,000, while players 20 and younger carry a $150,000 charge. Players can make more than these numbers, but that is the maximum that can count in salary cap terms. Mauro Diaz is 26, while Chala (20) Gruezo (21) and Colman (23) all would take considerably lower hits against the salary cap – leaving more money and room available for other players. Therefore, Mauro was the one bought down.
It's important to note that this must be done every season, so Mauro would be considered a DP player in 2018 until the club applied more Allocation Money to either him or another DP-eligible player.
As for if Dallas can bring in another DP right now? In theory, yes if they wanted to. They could either buy down another DP contract (assuming they had the available money to do so) or they could use Targeted Allocation Money to bring the player’s salary cap hit under the DP threshold. If reading more into the wonders of MLS roster rules is your thing, you can do so here.
MLSSoccer.com has a very handy breakdown of the FC Dallas roster make-up, including two open roster spots at the moment.
Our injured players, how are they doing? – Marcus Robinson
A very timely final question for this week, Marcus. Ryan Hollingshead and Victor Ulloa both returned to competitive action for the first time on Sunday during the friendly against San Antonio FC (USL) and are in the process now of getting their fitness back, which is great to see. They’ll both be fully fit and ready for use in the coming weeks.
Mauro Diaz continues to work out and rehab his repaired Achilles tendon and I can tell you he’s anxious to make a return, even though it’s still a ways off. Right now, Diaz is working out 2-3 times per day and really trying to get back as soon as possible, while also not rushing back and re-injuring anything or suffering a setback. We’re still looking at a mid-summer night’s return for the Magician.
Anibal Chala underwent the same surgery that Victor Ulloa underwent about one month later, so his timetable is about a month behind the Homegrown’s (roughly speaking, each player heals and recovers in a different manner). I’d venture to say he should be back in training at some point in the coming weeks.