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FC Dallas 2018 season preview: Roster, projected lineup, schedule, national TV and more

8:50 PM EST 2/22/18
Kellyn Acosta FC Dallas
After missing the playoffs in 2017, FC Dallas hopes additions at the back and on the wing get it back in the MLS Cup hunt

The year started so well and ended so poorly for FC Dallas.

FCD spent preseason in Argentina ahead of what it hoped would be a deep run in the CONCACAF Champions League. It narrowly missed a spot in the CCL final, falling to Pachuca late in the second leg of the semifinals. From there, though, the MLS Cup favorite picked up where it left off.

Yet, something still wasn't right. FCD didn't look like the team that had lifted the U.S. Open Cup and the Supporters' Shield in 2016. The results were coming, but the performances were unconvincing. Soon enough the results stopped coming as well and a team that expected to be in trophy contention had an early winter break after missing the postseason for the first time in the Oscar Pareja era.

The offseason didn't see a total overhaul, but FCD will have plenty of new pieces as the club looks to return to the playoffs and once again contend for an MLS Cup that has eluded the team in its 23rd season.

How did FC Dallas perform in 2017?

2017 finish: 7th in Western Conference (11-10-13), missed playoffs 

After a strong start to the season and plenty of hope heading into the summer, FCD ran out of steam. The team won just two of its last 15 matches but fell short of a playoff berth only after losing the first tiebreaker (number of wins) to the San Jose Earthquakes.

FC Dallas' key offseason losses

After he fell out of favor in the second half of the season, FC Dallas offloaded center back Walker Zimmerman in a trade to LAFC, getting back a decent haul of allocation money.

Goalkeeper Chris Seitz rolled down I-45 in free agency to join the Houston Dynamo, while utility man Atiba Harris went even further south and headed to Mexico to join Murcielagos.

FC Dallas' key offseason additions

FCD acquired winger Santiago Mosquera, from Colombian side Millonarios hoping he'll produce what 2017 offseason addition Roland Lamah wasn't able to on the left side of the attack.

Two reinforcements from Europe should slot into the starting back line with Bulgarian left back Anton Nedyalkov and former Switzerland World Cup defender Reto Ziegler joining to shore up the defense.

With Setiz out the door, FCD also moved to acquire former New York Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer. 

Full FC Dallas roster entering 2018 season

Goalkeepers: Jesse Gonzalez, Jimmy Maurer

Defenders: Reggie Cannon, Jordan Cano, Maynor Figueroa, Matt Hedges, Anton Nedyalkov, Kris Reaves, Reto Ziegler

Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta, Michael Barrios, Mauro Diaz, Carlos Gruezo, Jacori Hayes, Ryan Hollingshead, Roland Lamah, Santiago Mosquera, Paxton Pomykal, Brandon Servania, Victor Ulloa

Forwards: Tesho Akindele, Francis Atuahene, Cristian Colman, Jesus Ferreira, Adonijah Reid, Bryan Reynolds, Ema Twumasi, Maxi Urruti

FC Dallas projected starting lineup

This likely will be the normal starting XI for FC Dallas this season. Note that Matt Hedges will slide from the left center back spot to the right with left-footed Reto Ziegler added to the team. Ziegler and left back Anton Nedyalkov should start and allow for Maynor Figueroa to serve as the third center back - the role the club hoped he'd play last season before injuries made him the day-in, day-out left back.

Figueroa still should see plenty of minutes with Pareja likely to play a 5-3-2 much more often than he did last season, using Cannon and either Nedyalkov or Ryan Hollingshead as the left wingback. The biggest issue with shifting to that formation will be finding a second forward. Michael Barrios pushed up at times last season and new addition Santiago Mosquera may be able to do so as well. 2017 signing Cristian Colman continues to struggle to find any consistency.

This lineup includes three homegrown players, but look for Paxton Pomykal to join fellow teenager Reggie Cannon in the XI on occasion - especially if Mauro Diaz gets injured or suffers from fatigue with FCD advancing in the CCL or U.S. Open Cup.

FC Dallas national TV coverage

FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers - Saturday, March 24, at 3:30 p.m. ET on Univision
LAFC vs. FC Dallas - Saturday, May 5, at 4 p.m. ET on Univision
FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy - Saturday, May 12, at 3:30 p.m. ET on Unimas
New York Red Bulls vs. FC Dallas - Saturday, June 23, at 6 p.m. ET on Unimas
Seattle Sounders vs. FC Dallas - Saturday, August 12, at 8 p.m. ET on FS1
Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas - Thursday, August 23, at 9 p.m. ET on Unimas
D.C. United vs. FC Dallas - Saturday, October 13, at 3:30 p.m. ET on Univision