During a 34-game, nine-month season, there will undoubtedly be tests to a player’s stamina and a team’s depth. Players are bound to experience periods where they might not feel 100 percent, especially during the middle of summer when temperatures at Toyota Stadium regularly eclipse 100 degrees.
However, on a team like Oscar Pareja’s, there’s a confidence that comes with having a deep team that plays with cohesion, no matter who’s in the starting 11.
After Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Houston, the 15th straight match that featured an entirely unique starting lineup, it has become clear that Oscar Pareja believes in the play and readiness of each of his players and the ability for any player to immediately mesh with the rest of the lineup.
“I mean it's great to see, we have a lot of depth,” midfielder Kellyn Acosta said after Thursday’s game. “Anyone coming in knows the system and can play well, I mean guys like Mauro Rosales played well, he always comes in and gives us a spark, same with [Carlos] Lizarazo, who got the start last week, Juan [Ortiz], who came in today.”
FC Dallas has featured 16 different players in the starting lineup and another four have made at least one appearance this season. It’s that sort of depth that comes into play as a season rolls on, not to mention that extra games that Open Cup and CCL play add to the schedule.
What’s more than the depth, is the quality of the depth –– something Acosta values.
“I mean a lot of those guys that come in could start on any team in MLS,” Acosta said. “It's unfortunate that we can't start everybody but they give us that added dimension that we need into the game and that added spark so I mean it's great to see that anyone coming in, nothing changes.”
Once the team returns from a short MLS hiatus for Copa America Centenario, the team will wrap up June with two games in six days and a possible Open Cup match before a jam-packed July that features six games league matches already on the slate. The team’s depth will be tested, but it’s a challenge the roster has proved it’s up to thus far.
“They know the system,” Acosta said, “they're doing well and they're playing well.”