FRISCO, Texas – With 2020 just a few days away, we decided it was high time we compiled the FC Dallas Team of the 2010s Decade. With any list like this, there were many tough picks and difficult omissions—but it had to be done. Below is our FC Dallas best XI from 2010-2019.
Goalkeeper: Jesse Gonzalez
Gonzalez was FC Dallas’ 10th Homegrown signing back in 2013 and became the youngest goalie to start for Dallas at 20 years and 89 days old. Although he only played 17 games over his first four seasons, the 24-year-old has gone from strength to strength and was the undisputed #1 for the last three years. In that time, Gonzalez has racked up 271 saves and maintained a 1.32 GAA in MLS play. He’s also established himself as a penalty-saving specialist having stopped four of the 12 spot-kicks he’s faced over the last two seasons. In 2019, Gonzalez added to his repertoire with improved distribution and footwork and posted the highest passing accuracy (80%) of any starting ‘keeper in MLS.
Left Back: Jair Benitez
Benitez joined FC Dallas after spending a decade in the Colombian first division and went on to feature in MLS 153 games (140 in this decade). An important part of coach Schellas Hyndman’s first-choice defense, Benitez started the MLS Cup in 2010 against Colorado and played at least 25 games in each of his five MLS seasons this decade. Overall, Benitez contributed two goals and 12 assists in his time in Dallas.
Center Back: Matt Hedges
Hedges was probably the easiest choice in this entire list. He has been an absolute rock in the center of defense for FCD since being drafted in 2012 and is approaching GOAT status as he chases down Jason Kreis’ all-time appearance record. In his 243 games, Hedges has earned two MLS Best XI nods (2015 and 2016), MLS Defender of the Year (2016), three All-Star games (2017-19), four FC Dallas Defender of the Year awards and FCD Team MVP in 2018. As captain, he led Dallas to its most successful season in 2016, winning the MLS Supporters’ Shield and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Hedges has also been somewhat of a goal-scoring defender. He’s scored at least one goal in each of his eight MLS seasons for a total of 16 career goals.
Center Back: Zach Loyd
Loyd was a versatile defender and a mainstay in FCD’s backline for the first half of the decade. He made 180 regular season appearances and contributed offensively with four goals and eight assists. Loyd nearly won the ultimate prize in his first season as a first half sub in the 2010 MLS Cup but FC Dallas was ultimately defeated 2-1 by the Colorado Rapids in extra time. Thankfully for Loyd, it wasn’t his only chance at silverware as he helped the club to the MLS Supporters’ Shield and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in his final season in 2016.
Right Back: Reggie Cannon
Although Cannon has only played two full seasons so far for FCD he’s a worthy choice as the club’s all-decade right back. After playing a solitary minute in MLS his rookie year, Cannon forced his way into Oscar Pareja’s starting XI in 2018 as a teenager and played 33 regular season games, scoring one goal and adding three assists. His 2019 season was equally impressive as he remained the team’s first-choice right back under Luchi Gonzalez and scored his first playoff goal in Dallas’ playoff game against Seattle while playing out of position on the right wing. The Homegrown defender has also become a mainstay in the U.S. Men’s National Team over the last year, starting the Gold Cup semifinal and final for Greg Berhalter.
Defensive Mid: Kellyn Acosta
Acosta enjoyed five and a half fruitful seasons with FC Dallas after signing a Homegrown contract in 2012. The Plano native played 122 MLS games and was an important midfield operator for Oscar Pareja’s double-winning team in 2016. In all, Acosta registered nine goals and 12 assists with Dallas and earned regular call-ups to the USMNT between 2016-18. Although Carlos Gruezo arguably had a higher peak with FCD, Acosta helped trailblaze the pathway between the Academy and first team which just gives him the nod over the Ecuadorian for the defensive midfield spot.
Center Mid: David Ferreira
While Jesus Ferreira is stealing all the headlines in 2019, his father David was undoubtedly “the man” for FC Dallas at the beginning of the decade. A former Colombian international, David Ferreira joined Dallas in 09 and went on to play 113 games and led the team to its only MLS Cup appearance in 2010—contributing 10 goal and 16 assists along the way (including the postseason). He’s also only the second player to win the MLS MVP award while playing for FCD (after Jason Kreis in ’99). Ferreira contributed 16 goals and 32 assists (!!) over four seasons for Dallas this decade and is a lock at the central midfield spot.
Attacking Mid: Mauro Diaz
Mauro Diaz lit up the league after joining Dallas from Argentina’s River Plate in 2013. A clever attacking midfielder, Diaz pulled the strings in what’s arguably FCD’s best-ever team which finished first in the Western Conference in back to back seasons and won the Supporters’ Shield and Open Cup double. His untimely Achilles injury in the final regular season game of 2016 has created one of the biggest “what ifs” in FCD’s history. Regardless, his scorching form over the year earned him an MLS Best XI selection for 2016. In total, Diaz had 67 goal contributions (23 goals, 44 assists) in 109 MLS games and is undoubtedly one of Dallas’ highest performers over the decade.
Left Wing: Fabian Castillo
A speedy wide forward, Castillo terrorized MLS defenses for six seasons beginning in 2011. Brought in as a raw 18-year-old, the Colombian developed into a productive winger scoring 34 goals and dishing 30 assists over 159 MLS games. He also arguably has the greatest assist in FCD history after beating two defenders near the sideline and finding Maxi Urruti with an outrageous rabona cross to open the scoring against the Chicago Fire in 2016. Although he departed for Europe later that year, Castillo’s significant contributions over his six years in North Texas earn him a place in our team.
Striker: Blas Perez
Blas Perez was your prototypical #9 and he did that job to great effect in his four years with Dallas. Incredibly, FC Dallas was Perez’s 15th club in his career and, although he joined in his early 30s, he would go on to play more games (103) for FCD than any other club in his 20-year playing career. Perez consistently found the net for Dallas and recorded 36 goals and 14 assists in his time here. Although he missed out on the trophy-laden 2016 campaign by one season, “El Ratón” is a worthy candidate to lead the line for the all-decade team.
Right Wing: Michael Barrios
Mikey Barrios is the ironman of the FC Dallas All-Decade team. The diminutive Colombian winger set an FCD record for playing in 96 straight MLS games from 2017 to 2019. Barrios has racked up 158 MLS appearances so far, scoring 30 goals and giving 39 assists. In 2019, he had a career high 15 assists and earned FC Dallas’ Offensive MVP award. Mikey was a pivotal player in Dallas’ run to the MLS Supporters’ Shield and Open Cup triumph in 2016, and, at 28 years old, he still has plenty in the tank.
Also, a big Thank You to the all-knowing Steve Davis for his contribution to this article.