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2017 Western Conference Preview: FC Dallas

Will they win the Supporters’ Shield again? Probably.

MLS: Arabe Unido at FC Dallas Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids were neck-and-neck throughout most of the season in the race for the Supporters’ Shield. The Rapids went through a rough stretch in August/September, and Dallas pulled ahead, securing their first place spot. With a decent number of returning players, 2017 is looking good for these guys.

FC Dallas Preview for 2017

2016 Record: 17-8-9 (WLT), 60 points, 1st in the Western Conference

2016 Goals For: 50 (T-8th in MLS)

2016 Goals Against: 40 (T-4th least in MLS)

Key Stat for 2016:

FC Dallas was 12-1-4 (WLT) at home and 5-7-5 (WLT) away. This team was hard to beat at home and above average away.

Key Additions:

Javier Morales (Free Agent), Roland Lamah (Ferencvaros), Cristian Colman (Nacional Asunción), Carlo Cermeno (on loan from Deportivo Táchira), Jacori Hayes (Super Draft pick)

Key Subtractions:

Juan Esteban Ortiz (did not exercise his contract options), Zach Loyd (Expansion Draft to Atlanta), Fabian Castillo (transferred to Trabzonspor)

What Dallas has going for them:

Despite a lot of movement in the offseason, Dallas has filled just about every roster spot that opened up. They have depth in most positions, and have set themselves up for another great year.

Max Urruti was the Golden Child of Dallas in 2016, and he led the team with nine goals. But Dallas is looking for more from a star forward, and in the offseason Dallas allegedly spent north of a $2 million transfer fee to bring in Paraguayan striker Cristian Colman. They’re expecting him to score goals, and when you add Roland Lamah and Michael Barrios coming up the wings, you’ve got a fast attack coming at you. Colorado native Tesho Akindele is returning, and Carlo Cermeno was brought in on loan, giving them some depth.

In the midfield, Kellyn Acosta is back and appears to be improving already - he got himself a brace in their recent CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal, and it’s likely that he’ll get a US Men’s National Team nod (he left the January camp early due to a minor injury). Pair him up with Carlos Gruezo, add Victor Ulloa and Super Draft pick Jacori Hayes for some depth, and they’re sitting pretty.

The sad news for FC Dallas is that Mauro Diaz is out until the summer. But they signed Javier Morales to replace him, and is theoretically a like-for-like. Big D Soccer is skeptical, arguing that it’s almost impossible to replace a player like Diaz, and that Morales was in a decline last season.

Their back line remains intact, which was one of the best defenses in the league last year. They were one of the last teams to lose at home (cough cough thanks to the Rapids). Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman anchor the defense, and do a damn good job of it. That could also be a problem for the team, if both of these guys pique the interest of the national team and leave them without a center back.

What’s troubling:

I don’t know... they could use a third goalkeeper? They might lose a center back for USMNT play? The most troubling thing about Dallas is that there actually isn’t much troubling about them.

2017 Forecast:

I’m just going to say it. They’re going to come in 1st place again and win the Supporters’ Shield. They’ll make it to the playoffs and have a legitimate run for the MLS Cup. I don’t think they will win it, but they have a pretty good shot at it.