FRISCO, Texas – The final FC Dallas roster for 2020 has been finalized ahead of tomorrow's home opener against the Philadelphia Union. The 30-man squad includes 12 Homegrown players (HGs), seven internationals (one on loan), four Generation Adidas (two on loan) players and three Designated Players (DPs).
Let’s take a look at each player alphabetically to see their outlook for the season.
Bryan Acosta (DP) – Having recently undergone surgery for appendicitis, Acosta will be unavailable for the start of the season. But he should be back in a few weeks and will immediately compete for a starting role as the box-to-box midfielder in Luchi’s 4-3-3 formation. Last year, Acosta featured in 26 games, scoring two goals and adding an assist while playing out of position after the departure of Carlos Gruezo. Now in his second year and back in his favored position, we should see an even better Acosta this time around.
Pablo Aranguiz (Loaned Out) – The 22-year-old spent most of last season on loan to his hometown club Union Espanola in Chile. This year, he’ll spend another season on loan in the Chilean Primera but this time with Club Universidad de Chile.
Francis Atuahene (Loaned Out) – The former University of Michigan winger got his first MLS minutes last year and scored his first professional goal before being sent on loan to USL Championship side Austin Bold FC. This time around, he'll be loaned out to fellow Championship side San Diego Loyal, managed by none other than Landon Donovan.
Michael Barrios – Mikey enjoyed one of his best seasons for FCD last year, tallying five goals and 15 (!!!) assists. Having featured in over 30 MLS games in each of the last four seasons, the speedy Colombian is slated to be an ever-present figure in Dallas’ starting lineup yet again. His combination of speed and directness is crucial for stretching oppositions’ backlines and he’ll be relied upon to do that again this year.
Bressan – The Brazilian defender was mainly a backup last year, filling in at right back and center back when needed. With the strong center back partnership between Reto Ziegler and Matt Hedges, Bressan may find himself in a similar situation again this season. However, Luchi experimented with a three-at-the-back formation in preseason which gave Bressan a starting role. If Luchi opts to use that formation in the regular season, Bressan would become first-choice in the backline.
Nkosi Burgess – This year’s first round SuperDraft pick showed enough in preseason to earn himself a first team contract. But, similar to Bressan, it’ll be tough for Burgess to break the Hedges-Ziegler partnership to earn a starting spot at center back. The 22-year-old will likely get some minutes with North Texas SC this year to continue his development—similar to last year’s draft pick Callum Montgomery.
Reggie Cannon (HG) – Cannon will continue as the undisputed first-choice right back this year after another strong 2019 season. He may miss some games during the international breaks while with the USMNT, but other than that he’ll be another ever-present figure in the starting XI.
Edwin Cerrillo (HG) – Cerrillo enters his second season after featuring in 12 games last year—most of which came in the first half of the season. This year, he’ll compete with new signing Thiago Santos for the defensive midfield spot. Cerrillo is a talented player but it’ll be tough for him to beat out Santos, who was brought in to be the first-choice No. 6 at the base of midfield. Cerrillo may get minutes with North Texas SC to stay sharp, much like last season.
Jesus Ferreira (HG) – Ferreira had a breakout season in 2019 and finished as the club’s leading scorer. He also recently earned his first USMNT cap after getting his citizenship in December. Ferreira has played mainly as an attacking midfielder this preseason, although he’s able to play center forward as well. The 19-year-old is primed for an even stronger campaign this time around and will be a key piece of FCD’s attack.
Jesse Gonzalez (HG) – Gonzalez arguably had his best-ever season last year and was rewarded with a long-term contract in the offseason. Barring injury or international call ups, Gonzalez should be the No. 1 for FC Dallas all season long.
Matt Hedges – The always reliable Hedges had another All-Star-worthy season last year. He holds the club record for starts and is quickly approaching Jason Kreis’ all-time appearance record. The 29-year-old co-captain leads by example and will again be vital to FCD’s backline.
Ryan Hollingshead – The utility man finally found a home last year by locking down the left back position. He unquestionably had his best season in 2019, and led the league in goals by a defender (six). Recently, Hollingshead was ranked as the No. 1 left back in the league by MLSsoccer.com. He’ll be another guaranteed starter, health permitting.
Franco Jara – While Argentine striker isn't actually on FCD's roster yet, he will join the team in the summer having signed a pre-contract in the offseason. Once he arrives, he'll immediate challenge Kobra to be Luchi's first-choice striker. Jara currently has four goals in seven appearances for Pachuca in Liga MX's Clausura season.
Jimmy Maurer – Maurer will continue to be among the best back up keepers in the league, and someone who could easily start elsewhere in MLS. Like last year, he may see the field with North Texas SC to maintain match sharpness.
Callum Montgomery (Loaned out) – The 22-year-old former first round pick spent a majority of last season with North Texas SC. This year, the defender will go on loan with San Antonio FC in the USL Championship. FC Dallas has the right to recall him at any time, so there’s a chance he’ll return to Dallas before the season’s over.
Santiago Mosquera (DP) – Mosquera had an injury-plagued 2019 but has looked back to himself this preseason. He’ll be competing with new signing Fafa Picault for a starting spot at left wing, but he can also deputize as an attacking midfielder should Ferreira or Pomykal be unavailable.
Eddie Munjoma (HG) – The SMU grad and former FCD Academy player signed a Homegrown contract this offseason. He’ll be competing at the right back spot, one of the more crowded positions in Dallas’ squad. There’s a very slim chance he beats out Reggie Cannon, so he’ll fight it out with Bryan Reynolds for the backup role. He’s another player who’ll likely see game time with North Texas SC.
John Nelson – Second year defender Johnny Nelson will find it tough to leapfrog Ryan Hollingshead for a start at left back. However, Nelson split time in preseason playing as a defensive midfielder and may be used as rotation in that position instead. In any case, his versatility makes him a handy player to have on the bench.
Zdenek Ondrasek – Kobra endured a rough start to his career in Dallas, seeing limited playing time over the first few months. However, he exploded in the latter half of the year, scoring seven times in the last eight games to propel Dallas into the playoffs. In 2020, he’ll likely be the go-to striker for Luchi and FC Dallas, at least until Franco Jara arrives on a free transfer this summer.
Ricardo Pepi (HG) – Pepi enjoyed a meteoric rise in 2019, going from North Texas SC to FC Dallas in a matter of months. This year, he’ll be Kobra’s first-choice backup to start the year. However, once Franco Jara arrives, his playing time may be reduced and he could see more time with North Texas to continue developing.
Fafa Picault – Picault joined FCD this offseason after spending three fruitful years with the Philadelphia Union. He’ll compete with Santi Mosquera for the starting job on the left wing to start the year, but his reputation as one of the best pressing forwards in the league may shift the balance in his favor.
Paxton Pomykal (HG) – Pomykal was one of MLS's biggest breakout stars last year. He earned his first senior USMNT cap and was named to the All-Star team. He had surgery on groin in the offseason, and the recovery period lasted through preseason. While he may not be 100% match fit to start the year, Pomykal will play a major role this season at the heart of Dallas’ midfield.
Bryan Reynolds (HG) – The 18-year-old right back is entering his fourth season with Dallas already, but last year was the first time he saw MLS minutes. He was a big contributor to North Texas SCs’ title win last year, and he may see time with the second team again this year. For FCD, Reynolds must compete with Eddie Munjoma to be the first backup to Reggie Cannon.
Thomas Roberts (HG) - The attacking midfielder got his first taste of MLS action last year and also helped North Texas to the League One title. He’ll probably get minutes with both teams again this time around, depending on the needs of the first team.
Thiago Santos – The Brazilian midfielder was brought in as a direct replacement for Carlos Gruezo who departed to Germany last summer. Santos was a top defensive mid for Palmeiras in Brazil for five seasons and should slot seamlessly into Luchi’s midfield trio. Expect him to be near ever-present in the starting lineup.
Dante Sealy (HG) – Sealy spent last year on loan with North Texas SC, helping them to the League One title. He’ll definitely get more League One game time this year, but he may also feature for FCD if they’re in need of a winger. Another loan move isn’t out of the question either.
Brandon Servania (HG) – After starting last season with North Texas, Servania broke into FCD’s starting XI and impressed as a box-to-box midfielder. Although he’s recovering from a preseason knee injury, the 20-year-old will definitely factor in to Luchi’s midfield plans once he’s healthy.
Tanner Tessamnn (HG) – FC Dallas newest member signed his Homegrown contract this week. With Acosta and Servania still in recovery, Tessmann could make an impact in MLS straight away. A versatile midfielder, Tessmann combines size, athleticism and technique, making him a player in FCD’s squad.
Ema Twumasi – Twumasi will spend another season on loan with USL Championship side Austin Bold FC where he played 24 games and scored three goals last year. He can also be recalled by FCD at any time.
Reto Ziegler – FC Dallas’ captain and most experienced player, Ziegler will again play a crucial role in Dallas’ backline. Also, Ziegler has extra responsibility as the team’s penalty and free kick taker. At 34 years old, the former Swiss international has looked as strong as ever in preseason and it promises to be another fruitful year as Hedges’ center back partner.
Kyle Zobeck – Zobeck comes into the season as the third-choice goalkeeper behind Jesse Gonzalez and Jimmy Maurer. Last year, he appeared in multiple games for USL League One side, North Texas SC, and he was a crucial factor to the team’s championship win.