MLS Preview: Is FC Dallas the team to beat?

FRISCO, TX - FEBRUARY 23: FC Dallas forward Cristian Colman (
FRISCO, TX - FEBRUARY 23: FC Dallas forward Cristian Colman ( /

With the MLS season just days away it is time to predict a champion that will 100% come true and it is my belief that the choice is easy.  FC Dallas is by far the most complete team with talent up and down the roster.

Before I get to the nitty-gritty of why FC Dallas will become the best team in MLS over the next several months a story is needed.

Portland Timbers manager Caleb Porter was on Extra-Time radio a week ago to discuss all things about the upcoming season.  He spoke about the usual things like incoming players, how excited he was for the season to kick off and much more.  What stuck out to me was none of this, instead what peaked my interest was the description of how difficult roster construction is in MLS.

After winning MLS Cup, Portland had to offload a bevy of talented players due salary cap constrictions.  It is difficult to keep the bottom 8-20 slots of your roster stocked with talent the more successful the club is.

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Take a look at the current MLS Cup champs as an example, Seattle had to offload several valuable starters and/or depth pieces this offseason.  The front office did a fantastic job bringing in established vets to fill the vacancies, but the point remains, three players who all saw 30+ appearances had to leave in Erik Friberg, Andreas Ivanschitz and Nelzon Valdez.

As difficult as it is to cope with this kind of roster turnover and uncertainty, this is where FC Dallas joins the discussion.  It is no secret by now that this club has had the most success bringing in both academy kids and draft picks.

A whole host of kids are developing in their academy system and Kellyn Acosta is just one of the examples of talented first team type players FC Dallas seems to plug in to the lineup.  This kind of investment in the kids allows for the more serious salary cap to be reallocated toward maintaining the core of stars, like Mauro Diaz.

With an already established core of players it seems as if the last two years FC Dallas has been able to strategically add players in areas of need.  Last winter it was bringing in holding midfielder Carlos Gruezo and this year adding an established MLS player in Javier Morales.  The biggest signing might just be Cristian Colmán who has absolutely torn it up this preseason.  Colman is a striker who fills the only glaring need in the FC Dallas lineup.  Before they had to rely on a rotating cast of characters for the scoring duty, but with Colman there is a central focus along with same sprinkling of goals.

Next: MLS Preview: Has the Eastern Conference gained ground?

A year ago that sprinkling of goals was good enough for a Supporters Shield and U.S. Open Cup and this year FC Dallas are aiming for more.  That more is the club’s first ever MLS Cup and they have to be the undisputed favorites heading into the season.