FRISCO - It's been a few weeks since we've taken a dive into the Mailbag, and boy is there a lot to sift through this week. It might be one of our longest Mailbags to date, so we'll get right to it.
"If Reggie can get consistent playing time and find success, why doesn’t Paxton get a chance? He can’t take the next step if he comes on as a sub for 10 minutes once every 3 games.” - @SamBrown027
I have to start with this very simple line that is often forgotten: every situation is unique. Reggie Cannon’s situation is much different than Paxton Pomykal’s, and it’s not a slight on either player.
The simplest answer is a reflection of the positions they play. As a defender, you’re not going to have much of an opportunity to sub into matches early on in your career. It’s either start or don’t. As an attacking player, you have that opportunity late in matches to grow into the game.
Remember that Cannon is a full 18 months older than Pomykal. He came up through the Academy, played a full season at the then-U-18 level before playing a full semester as a starter at a D-I school in UCLA. Dallas had discussions of signing Cannon before he ever went to school, but he wanted to honor his commitment and his year at school helped immensely in his growth as a player. Had he not, he might not be in the position he is today.
When he signed, he still came in and sat behind Hernan Grana on the depth chart for a full year after that. Cannon grew so much over the course of last season, the Dallas staff knew he could take on the job of starter, and knew there would be hiccups along the way. To his credit, there really haven’t been many.
Pomykal, yes he was signed in 2016, but he’d be heading to his freshman year in college right now if he were on the same path as Cannon. Both last season and this season, he has had unfortunate timing with injuries. It’s tough to get back to mid-season form after several weeks on the shelf. As Dallas moved on from Mauro Diaz, Pomykal had just returned to full health.
A case could be made that a game or two in USL would do him good, but he’s such a big piece to the first team roster and game plan that he hasn’t gone on loan. Since coming back in early June, he’s missed just three 18-man rosters, one of which while he was with the U.S. U-20s two weeks ago. Pomykal was getting ready to come on as the third and final sub Saturday before Cannon’s hamstring knock necessitated Ryan Hollingshead coming on as the final sub.
He’s getting an opportunity more this season than he did last and his chances are coming. Don’t think otherwise just because he isn’t starting every game.
“Will we see Moises in the defensive rotation at any point? Will we see Badji make the 18 for Seattle? Will the presence of Aranguiz temporarily shift us back to a 4-4-2?” - @TheGlennCanyon
Three separate questions to dive into here, but we’ll start at the back with Moises Hernandez. I think this signing is undoubtedly a depth move for Dallas to shore things up at this late stage of the transfer window. The struggle for Hernandez is going to be cracking a rotation of players that has contributed all year. He’s been training purely at center back, where Matt Hedges and Reto Ziegler are the go-to starters. Maynor Figueroa has been the next man up in the middle, and also brings a versatility on the left. Same with Hollingshead as an outside back and also possessing the ability to play further up on the wing. Hernandez has to supplant at least one of those two to make the 18-man roster, while also competing with Kris Reaves, who also has the ability to play in the middle and outside. The answer lies on the training ground and who performs the best week-in and week-out.
On Dominique Badji, I think it’s a better chance than not he travels for the Seattle match, but that’s a question we’ll know a little better as the week goes on. Remember, it’s only his first full week in training with FCD after obtaining his green card in Senegal last week.
Finally, on Pablo Aranguiz, I think it’s a move back to the 4-2-3-1 more than anything. That’s his primary role and anything else he’s inserted into the lineup as will take some adjustment. He’s a pure No. 10 coming in and I think that’s where we’ll see him more often than not.
“Why have loans to OKC stopped?” - @VRossGreen
There isn’t an issue between the two clubs, just a matter of squad availability. Francis Atuahene has been in the final mix for the last three matchday rosters traveling to both Houston and SKC, Ema Twumasi has also been in the rotation and is training during the week here. Jordan Cano played for Energy FC a few weeks back, but picked up a slight knock and was rehabbing in Frisco prior to last week.
On the other side of Oklahoma, we haven’t seen Jesus Ferreira traveling to Tulsa because, well, he’s been in the 18 for the first team and spent the middle of last week in Atlanta for All-Star festivities. Brandon Servania spent time with the U.S. U-20s two weeks ago and trained so well last week he was the last player cut from the 18-man roster for Saturday’s match.
It’s tough to coordinate sending players to USL if they’re in the mix for MLS matches until the final day or two before a game. At this point, it’s a positive sign that these players are staying in Frisco because it means they’re on the fringe of seeing time with the first team. That’s the whole point of the MLS-USL development relationship.