MONDAY MAILBAG: What Happened in the Second Half, Offseason Changes and the Upcoming Schedule

FRISCO - We’re now 24 hours into this digestion period after the 2017 FC Dallas campaign. The wounds are still fresh, there’s still a lot to think about, but as we begin to shift the focus to 2018 and beyond, it’s time to answer some of the many questions surrounding what just happened and how the club intends to move forward.

First, we had many questions about who is and isn’t under contract for next season. I’m not going to address players specifically at this moment, and it’s often difficult to in MLS with the notion of team options on contracts so prevalent. Simply, very few if any have expiring contracts and it’s at the team’s discretion who gets options picked up and who gets them declined when detailing returning players. I’ll touch on it a bit here in our second question, but will refrain from a straight list of contracts.

“What happened in the second half of the season?” - David Webb

David, that’s the million dollar question. We’ll be diving into this a little more in-depth this week from an outsider’s perspective on where the issues lied, but I think it the last few months have been a snowball effect of confidence, errors and bad breaks.

Coming off a huge win in Montreal on July 22, the team went out and laid a 4-0 egg in an overall bad performance to Vancouver at home. From there, it was just one thing after another beginning with two games of video review overturned goals and by the end of 2017, I think we saw a team that had their confidence shaken and just couldn’t get out of their rut. Look no further than the penultimate match in Seattle where after a strong opening 30 minutes, one goal began to unravel the entire performance.

Again more on this to follow, but it just seemed that little by little, the straw finally broke the camel’s back in Frisco. The team worked out some frustrations in a 5-1 win over LA, but it was too late by that point. Even then, they still allowed the opening goal in the first three minutes.

The last three months were uncharacteristic on nearly every level to the Dallas teams we’ve seen succeed in recent years.

“What changes can we expect for next year? Firings? New players? Give us hope!” - @Mark44Roberts

I think Oscar alluded to it last night after the game, but it’s going to be a busy offseason for FC Dallas from a player personnel perspective. Frankly put, there are several players that will not return to the club in 2018. In turn, you’ll see many new faces come in their place. We’ll have to wait on who exactly those names are, but read into Pareja’s quote what you will:

“We have had four seasons with this group. We have to sit down and evaluate. It’s a cycle that needs to be reviewed. There are things that need to change. The project is going to move forward. This year has been difficult. We’ll keep training. It’s early. They’re a group of professionals that need to get ready for what is coming. They’re a young group. Some of them will be getting called to their nationals teams so we’ll put that together. I have to be honest. I didn’t plan on this.”

We’ll learn more in the coming days and weeks on this.

“What is the team’s schedule in the next few weeks?” - @NathanJHill

Nathan, the team will get some time of this week to digest what just took place and to recover from a long - and oftentimes grueling - 2017 season. After that, players under contract for next season and those in the picture will return to training for a couple weeks before taking time off in late November ’til preseason begins in late January. Those players in training will not be a decisive who’s in, who’s out for 2018, but there are still jobs to compete for and other things like international windows for some to train for. It’s also a time to do some heavy and intensive training work to prepare for next season, the levels of which you might not be able to do over the course of the season while still remaining fresh for games week-in and week-out.