It's finally here! The 2016 with it's two trophies and 60 points is all in the past. The road to the 2017 season opener starts on Monday as FC Dallas opens 2017 preseason camp. This is the fourth season under Oscar Pareja and is shaping up to be one of the most memorable ever. Last week, we took a look at some of the roster battles entering preseason camp and now let's take a look at the biggest storylines to watch.
The X Factor
While FC Dallas was actually statistically a better team once Fabian Castillo departed to Turkey in July, it's undeniable that FC Dallas missed that explosive option on the wing opposite Michael Barrios. The Colombian had just three goals and one assist in the last 15 games of the season, with opposing defenses able to key in on the winger.
FC Dallas addressed that hole this offseason with the signing of Belgian winger Roland Lamah. After an extensive career that saw Lamah play in La Liga, EPL and Ligue 1, Roland could be one of the most under-the-radar signings of the MLS offseason. Lamah's success will be one of the major X factors of the 2017 season. We know FCD is going to be one of the best teams in the league, but if Lamah can prove to be a force on the wing opposite Barrios, Dallas will be just that much stronger. with both players benefitting.
Shortest Offseason Ever
*Read that in Comic Book Guy voice please*
In the past couple years, the club has done many things that they hadn't before and this preseason will be a new experience as well as FCD prepares for their first-ever appearance in the CCL quarterfinals. Exactly one month to the day after Dallas opens preseason, they will host Panamanian champions Arabe Unido in the CCL QF first leg at Toyota Stadium.
While in the past, the first week or two of preseason is mainly just fitness, it's pedal to the metal in 2017 as FC Dallas has to get ready earlier than ever. Dallas begins the season with the home-and-home CCL quarterfinal before heading straight from Panama to Los Angeles to open the season. No easy task for sure.
A Legend Enters
As Mauro Diaz continues his long recovery from a torn achillies, FC Dallas acquired one of the best players in MLS history, Argentine Javier Morales, to contribute in the attacking midfielder role.
Having just turned 37, Morales is entering the twilight of his career, but there is no doubt he's still got plenty left in the tank. In just the last three seasons, Morales has 21 goals and 28 assists.
Re-energized after ten seasons with Real Salt Lake, it's going to be fascinating to see how he gels into FC Dallas and their group of South Americans. Look out for Morales to hit the ground running in 2017 and be a huge part of the offense early in the season.