FRISCO - Throughout the 2015-2016 off-season, nearly every time FC Dallas added another piece to the roster it was done with the idea that this needed to be a deep squad that could survive through inevitable international absences and injuries.
That depth will be tested for the first time in Saturday’s match at DC United with seven players out on national team duty including six players who have played significant minutes this season.
“We believe in what we have and the roster has been built on 28 players, 27 at the moment and it’s next in line,” Oscar Pareja said after Tuesday’s training. “The approach is just to allow the people who are waiting for their opportunity to come and step up for the team.”
However, with absence comes opportunity. Proven MLS veterans like Zach Loyd and Chris Seitz are expected to get their first MLS minutes of the season while youngsters like Aaron Guillen, Timo Pitter and Colin Bonner could make their first matchday rosters.
“It’s a massive opportunity for guys who don’t get on the field as much,” said team captain Matt Hedges. “It’s your time to show what you can do playing against other team’s starters so it’s the time to win a spot if possible. We have a lot of trust in these guys. We see them in training every day and they’re ready they want to try to win a spot.”
Not only is there a chance for MLS minutes, but this week’s training has been highly competitive with many of the younger players getting minutes with the starters under the watchful eye of Pareja. One player there is no question about is goalkeeper Chris Seitz. With a career-high three shutouts in seven matches last year and seven shutouts in the last three years, FC Dallas has the luxury of two proven MLS starters in goal.
“We have a team with a lot of internationals, so it’s something we’ll face a couple times this year and also spread throughout tournaments,” said Seitz. This is the first instance where guys have an opportunity to impress and we have a really deep squad that is built to succeed in these types of situations. It’s what we were built for and for us nothing changes. It’s an opportunity for us to get three points on the road and our first road result which is important for us.”