- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On March 13, 2008
- 2 Comments
Another installment in the team-by-team season previews here at WVHooligan. Today I focus on my hometeam here in Dallas, the Hoops.
2007 Record and Finish: 13-12-5, 44 pts., 5th overall, 3rd in the west, lost in western conference semi-final
Incoming: Duilio Davino (transfer), Brek Shea (SuperDraft), Josh Lambo (SuperDraft), Eric Avila (SuperDraft), Andre Rocha (loan)
Outgoing: Clarence Goodson (Expansion Draft), Shaka Hislop (retirement), Denilson (not resigned), Carlos Ruiz (trade with LA), Chris Gbandi (transfer)
Questions Going Into 2008:
1. Will Duilio Davino be the answer to defensive problems this club has had over the years?
Yes and no. Yes in the fact that he brings loads on experience and leadership to a backline that needs both. But his overall speed and pace is lacking and his age is concerning some fans in the Big D. As far as him being the answer to the problem, its going to be a little while until we know exactly that. I think he will be an improvement over last year’s squad.
Some Dallas fans are still upset over the loss of Goodson but there was a reason why he was left open for the expansion draft. I would say the Dallas front office knew he was going to bolt to Europe this winter. So it only made sense to do that since they wouldn’t have had the money to actually resign him like they would have wanted to.
Thing is Dallas still has a lot of work to do on their defense. The new formation should help out in that.
2. Who’s the starter going to be in goal?
Its either Ray Burse Jr. or Dario Sala. Both have their ups and down, lets make no mistake about that. Both have to have a sense that rookie Josh Lambo is the real keeper of the future so they are both expendable here. I would be willing to say that Burse is more expendable than Sala at this point.
I would say both are going to get their fair share of starts here this season. I would tab Sala as the opening day start though and it will probably his job to lose to Burse this year. Both will help groom Lambo I think into the keeper for this club in the next couple years.
3. Will this club sign a striker to replace Carlos Ruiz?
They may and they may not. They’ve been in talks with a couple players over the past couple months but nothing has come out of those talks just yet. Honestly, right now, I don’t see them signing anyone else at that position until this summer. Money wise they are fine to sign someone but I think they will wait until they get the right match. Hopefully meaning they won’t go out and blow money on another waste of space like they did with Denilson.
I think this club will be fine at the striker spot if Kenny Cooper returns to his 2006 form and gets over the injury plagued season that he had last year. If Cooper is able to get in the 12 to 16 goal range Dallas will be fine. I also look for guys like Juan Toja and Arturo Alvarez to have solid seasons this year as well with the new formation.
Overall, Dallas did what they had to do this winter and that was to get rid of Ruiz. It was the best move for both parties involved really.
4. Will Pablo Ricchetti’s contract dispute disrupt the club?
Let’s hope not here because Ricchetti is a very valuable player to Dallas right now in a midfield that needs a player of his caliber to shutdown the other teams attack. He wants more money right now and Dallas hasn’t seem to budge on anything here. I’m sure he will play but it may not be with the same kind of style that we saw last year. I kind of think it will be like how Dwayne de Rosario played last year with Houston until his contract was worked out. That isn’t something Dallas needs right now at this moment.
5. Will we see the usual mid-summer slump?
Let’s hope not that we won’t this year. Its starting to be a bad tradition here in Dallas; get out to a nice start on the season and then July hits the season begins to go south after the All-Star break and then August and September drag on endlessly. Its a bad tradition really. One that many hope the new formation (3-5-2) will help overcome in those summer months here in Texas and the young blood that was drafted and picked up over the last couple years begins to produce.
Honestly, Steve Morrow’s job depends on the summer months I think. Maybe so does Michael Hitchcock’s job but that is another story for another day here. Morrow isn’t on the hot seat right now but he is darn near close to it right now in some people’s mind down here in Dallas. He has to find a way to get his club through those months without damaging the season record. I like what he is building in Dallas but he has to be able to overcome those months, something that his club hasn’t been able to do in years.
2008 Season Outlook:
This team has the ability to be good and to be bad at the same time. They should be able to reach the playoffs again but they are nothing more than a middle of the pack team right now in my mind and in the minds of a lot of people that cover them and write on soccer.
I would love to say as a Dallas fan that they will win the MLS Cup this year and the US Open Cup but that isn’t going to happen. The US Open Cup seems more likely since they actually do seem to care about it. Thing is that most Dallas fans are used to is that mid-summer slump that pretty much kills any hope for a playoff win (something that hasn’t happen in years as well). Steve Morrow has his work cut out for him here this season. As much as I liked the draft picks and all this winter, I don’t know if he and the FO did enough to put together a championship type club for this season.
The playoffs aren’t out of the question for this club though. They could very well surprise a lot of people this year with the amount of talent that they have on their roster. But the defense still needs work and the offense also has some question marks surrounding it going into the new year.
They also need to prove to a lot of people that they can beat Houston this year. If they do that I will say they are above the middle of the pack, but the debate is still out on if that will happen this year or not.
Still, for now I only see them as a middle of the pack kind of team right now.