FRISCO, Texas — The 2019 season has concluded for FC Dallas after suffering a first-round playoff defeat to the Seattle Sounders, 4-3, in overtime. FC Dallas had the youngest roster in MLS with a first-year head coach who gave the second-most amount of minutes to Homegrown players — only trailing Real Salt Lake.
The season had its ups and downs, but the highs were significant. The team was developing its own identity and style of play throughout the year — something that will only continue to improve moving forward.
To wrap up 2019, we caught up with different members of the media who cover FC Dallas — including Carlos Alvarado, the Spanish voice of FC Dallas, The Dallas Morning News's Jon Arnold, ProSoccerUSA's Arman Kafai, and FC Dallas broadcasters, Mark Followill and Steve Davis.
This Roundtable discussion will be split up into six parts — each one going over different topics. Part One, where the media graded the coaching staff's performance, is here. Part two, this season's Offensive MVP, is here. Up next, the media will discuss who had the most surprising breakout season.
Was there a breakout player you didn't expect to see?
Alvarado: Zdenek Ondrasek, I also think next season will be better for him.
Arnold: Ryan Hollingshead over the course of the season and Zdenek Ondrasek from August on. Hollingshead always has been capable, but this year he went from capable to constant. His defending was at a level we've never seen from him, and he got forward into the attack often to give it a jolt it often needed. Cobra, well, you know his story. I don't watch training as often as I'd like, but even when I was there I wasn't thinking, "Wow, the coaches are missing something here by not giving this guy minutes," and then - boom. Cobra for President (of the Czech Republic).
Davis: I'd have to go with Ryan Hollingshead. Yes, Jesus Ferreira and Paxton Pomykal had outstanding breakout seasons. But we sort of saw that coming. Not so with Dallas’ talented left back. For me, it’s Hollingshead all the way.
Kafai: Hollingshead. Pedroso was still on the squad at the beginning of the season but Hollingshead won the spot fair and square and made it his. You can argue that Hollingshead is an MLS Best XI player. He was solid defensively but really showed freedom in his game going forward. It seemed as if Gonzalez gave him a bit of roaming ability in the final third and he really showed it with his six goals and driving runs going forward. I don't think anyone expected him to have his best year this season but he was outstanding.
Followill: I'd have to say Zdenek Ondrasek because by the time he got going, it seemed like it wasn't going to happen for him here. Luckily, he did breakout over the last six weeks, scoring seven goals in seven games and in my opinion saved their season. I hope his end of season performance sets him up to go into next year with a firm hold on the #9 spot. To me, he's not a come off the bench and chase a goal late kind of forward. To have success he's needs to start and get a feel for the game and can use his unique instincts in the box.