With the 2011 off-season now just over two weeks old for FC Dallas, it’s time to look at which players might remain in the fold for 2012 or which might be sent packing? This is just one individual’s opinion but here’s a take on four players who fall on both sides of the ledger:
Four to Drop
Edson Edward D---Seeing this guy make the opening-day roster in preseason 2010 was one heck of a great story, especially with him being from an NAIA school in Canada. He even got to make his MLS debut late last season. However, a knee injury sidelined him for all of 2011 and it would have been unlikely to see him make the roster anyway. Still, he’s a great kid with some solid skills who could get another shot in this league or maybe in the NASL.
Maykel Galindo F---Galindo came to FCD with a great attitude and a great mentality. However, there was one small issue with the Cuban-born striker, he wasn’t exactly fit when he arrived here early in the year. That lack of fitness ended up costing him dearly as it seemed like every time he got close to regaining his health, he suffered a setback in the form of some nagging ailment. He did get healthy toward the end of the year and did log some minutes with the first team but the results just weren’t there. It was worth a shot but this is one experiment that just didn’t work.
Jeremy Hall D---Hindsight is always 20/20 but there are few who follow this club that liked this deal from the start. After all, the trading of Eric Alexander out of the midfield was unpopular on several fronts. One, it sent to Portland a kid who had become a fan favorite and two, it ended up being a bad move because midfield depth wasn’t exactly the strength the FCD brass thought it was and this team definitely could have used Alexander down the stretch. Hall still has a great upside but hasn’t really cut it with New York, Portland or now with Dallas. Maybe it’s time we all realize he’s nowhere near the player in MLS that he was during his college days at Maryland.
Josh Lambo GK---Nothing against Lambo but he hasn’t really shown a great deal since he’s been here. Sure, there have been several injuries for him to contend with and he has been a Generation Adidas player but for a guy who was drafted so highly not all that long ago, where are the returns on this pick? Some thought him getting married during last off-season would result in a more mature and focused ‘keeper and for some of the time, it did. But with the emergence of Richard Sanchez from the FCD Academy, there really isn’t room for Lambo, so if indeed he graduates from GA status, he’s likely gone before 2012.
Four to Keep
Daniel Cruz M---Sure, Cruz didn’t exactly set the world on fire in his 10 games with FCD, six of which were starts. However, he did have one goal and one assist and did show flashes of some solid skill while on the ball. For a team whose midfield depth has now become somewhat of an issue, especially down the stretch of the recently-concluded 2011 season, keeping Cruz at least to start the season makes absolute sense. Now if he doesn’t show something else early on, it wouldn’t be a huge shock to see him go because if Dallas fans know anything, it’s that gaffer Schellas Hyndman is never afraid to make a move if he feels it will better his club.
Bruno Guarda M---Guarda saw time in 11 games, five of them starts and contributed two assists in 2011. And it is a fair point that he hasn’t even come close to being the star he was during his college years at SMU. But when healthy last season, he gave FCD a viable option in the middle of the park and at times, he was a more than able fill-in at linking mid with starter Andrew Jacobson battling knee issues for much of the year. If not just from a depth standpoint, Bruno has value on this team. The big question is whether or not Hyndman can find an upgrade over the former Mustang this off-season. If that’s the case, then Guarda’s time playing under Hyndman will effectively be over.
Maicon Santos F---To put it bluntly, Santos was the soccer equivalent of ex-big leaguer Kurt Bevacqua. If you don’t get the reference, former Dodger manager Tommy LaSorda once put it oh so eloquently in a rant that is forever immortalized on YouTube saying that Bevacqua couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a [expletive] boat. It was about that bad for Santos in his 11 games, nine of which were starts this year in league play. Maicon took a total of 40 shots, 11 of which were on frame and only two of those went in. That’s a success rate of a paltry five percent for those of you scoring at home. While this cold streak was going on, it turns out that he had been bothered by a tooth issue and had taken drugs for that ailment, which was affecting his play. But what about after his tooth healed? There was little if any difference. Santos likely starts 2011 with FCD but he will be on the shortest of leashes and if there is any hint of his finishing problems in 2012, then he could join the long list of former Dallas strikers who have been cut.
Ricardo Villar M---Villar’s first few months with FCD were pretty uneventful to say the least. He did start early in the year against San Jose and the results were underwhelming at best. The Brazilian-born midfielder was a bit miffed that he wasn’t getting more playing time, to which Hyndman replied he needed to show more during training. But to Villar's credit, he did the work in training to eventually earn a spot on the field and made some fairly notable contributions during the US Open Cup, an event where Dallas advanced all the way to the semifinals. Still, the big question with him is he a starting-caliber player, especially on this team? That remains to be seen but even if he isn’t, he could still be a valuable piece if not just for his set piece prowess heading into the 2012 season.