The team is off to Panama this Monday morning, getting set for Leg Two of their CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal against Arabe Unido, but before we jet, it’s time to answer some big questions in our first Monday Mailbag of 2017:
“Is Javier Morales' apparent diminished role temporary while he builds up his fitness or can we expect him to be a late game sub all year? If the latter, can we expect a platoon with Mauro Rosales until Diaz returns?” - Eric Peoples
Before I dive into the larger question here, I do want to clarify that Mauro Rosales is not under contract with FCD for 2017. A huge depth piece in 2016, Rosales has been training with the club throughout preseason, but a contract does not appear likely at this time. Rosales is simply an added veteran presence and great person to have around while he maintains his fitness exploring other career options.
On the main topic of the question though, Oscar Pareja said after last Thursday’s match that they are taking a slower path with Javier Morales rather than trying to rush him into a starting role and risk an injury or knock that could be detrimental to the club in the long haul of an MLS season. They have this flexibility because of a luxury addressed in our next question..
“Should Dallas stick to the 2 forward system?” - Juan Garcia
Juan, for the short-term at least, absolutely. Having three talented attackers in Cristian Colman, Maxi Urruti and Tesho Akindele, the FCD staff has an embarrassment of riches to choose from. Colman continues to come along in his meshing with the player around him (and what a debut on Thursday), Tesho has made a serious case for a starting role and is lethal off the bench (two assists on Thursday made a statement as well), and Maxi Urruti continues to show a new-found level of confidence all over the field. Whether he’s tucking underneath Colman in a 4-4-2 or a target up top in a 4-2-3-1, Urruti has proven he’s maintained his late 2016 form early on in the new year.
Coupled with the above-mentioned slower path the staff is on not wanting to rush Morales along, I think a two-forward look is going to be big to start the year in Dallas. But we all know Oscar’s love for flexibility and I think you can expect to see a healthy dose of each throughout the year.
“Any chance we see some reserves next week in Panama?” - David Rachuig
If I were head coach of FC Dallas, the youngsters would run the show in Central America. But there’s a very good reason that I am not.
If there’s any game where we’re likely to see some younger players, it’s this one. Whether they will start or not, we’ll have to wait and see. Oscar could very well start a similar lineup to what we saw on Thursday, but I do think as the game goes on some of the reserve players will play a factor. That being said, with the emphasis placed on CCL by the staff as a whole, they could also go full-bore on Wednesday and play a few more reserves on Saturday in LA. Let’s see how the week plays out.
“Where can we get those sweet matching jackets you and @DRobertsonFCD wear during those videos? #FCDMailbag” - The 19th Minute (@The19thMinute)
While Daniel and I do not consider ourselves as fashion icons (and neither should you), those sweet, sweet red and white jackets can be found in the FC Dallas Team Store at Toyota Stadium, or right here at the MLS Store online. I want to see everyone wearing them on March 18th!
Thank you to all who asked questions this week, and keep ‘em coming! We’ll have plenty to discuss in next week’s edition after Leg Two of CCL Quarterfinal play and Saturday’s MLS season opener in LA. Until next time!