FRISCO - It’s hard to find any player who better represented FC Dallas better than Victor Ulloa.
From signing as the club’s second Homegrown in 2010 to being out of contract and fighting his way back into the team in 2014 during preseason under Oscar Pareja, Ulloa is Dallas through and through. The Wylie native has spent nearly half his life in Frisco.
FC Dallas went relatively unscathed in the 2018 Expansion Draft, seeing Roland Lamah selected by FC Cincinnati after having his contract option declined by FCD earlier this offseason. Their luck wasn’t entirely by chance, though.
In the days leading up to the Half-Day Trade window, the MLS newcomers were busy on the phones and a number they frequented was one in Dallas. Cincinnati had its eye on Ulloa. Conversations were had but a deal was never finalized before the noon deadline on Sunday. So as FCD went to submit its protected list for the Expansion Draft later that afternoon, it couldn’t leave Ulloa exposed knowing full well he’d be selected.
The big risk the club made in crafting that list - which was discussed at length earlier in the week - took this fact into consideration. The negotiations were, in fact, ongoing. Parting with someone who has meant so much to Dallas was not going to happen by virtue of a draft.
With this offseason’s heavy focus seemingly on creating room for the kids to play larger roles, the club's longest-tenured player found himself as one of the older vets on the roster - even at 26. Ulloa, unfortunately, has fallen victim to the numbers game with just one year left on his contract and eyes looking toward the future.
Youngsters Jacori Hayes, Brandon Servania and others coming up through the system wait in the wings. Dallas is even rumored to be nearing a deal for Honduran international Bryan Acosta, who plays that linking role in the midfield that Ulloa does. It was not a matter of if Ulloa and FCD would go their separate ways, but when - be it now or in the short-term future.
Having a team in Cincinnati that wanted the Homegrown is perhaps the best scenario in a difficult, but ultimately inevitable goodbye.
Early on, you can see the expansion side has a clear model to start with MLS veterans out of the gate and eventually build to the youthful core its retained from USL. Ulloa will play minutes and play a big part of what’s taking place in the The Queen City. It might not be easy to see a familiar face on the opposing sideline, but it’s a great, new opportunity for player who has given his all to FCD and one who will always call Dallas home.