FC Dallas' Victor Ulloa (pictured on the right) appeared in 32 MLS regular-season games during the 2016 campaign. (Photo: Mexsport)
FRISCO, Texas – This preseason is unlike any other in history for FC Dallas.
For the first-ever time, the MLS club will be competing in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League knockout round, giving urgency to the preparations that started this week.
This means that rather getting ready for a March regular-season opener, FCD must first contest a SCCL quarterfinal series against Panama’s Arabe Unido, starting at home on February 23.
Head coach Oscar Pareja is already ahead of the game.
“We have been adjusting to the new calendar that we have with the increase of international competition, and, obviously, the urgency we want to have on February 23, when we start the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals,” said the 48-year-old, a former FC Dallas player. “We have created a different model in the preseason this year. We are speeding up the process of readjusting the players from the offseason, getting them back into training and habits, and also getting them into competition mode as soon as possible.
“In the first week of February, we will want to see them in game mode.”
FC Dallas has been busy strengthening its roster during the offseason. Among the new arrivals are midfielders Roland Lamah and Javier Morales, and defender Anibal Chala. Morales brings with him plenty of SCCL experience after spending 10 seasons at Real Salt Lake, where he accumulated 20 appearances in the competition and netted four goals.
On Thursday, FC Dallas confirmed the signing of 22-year-old forward Cristian Colman, who scored 18 goals in his last two seasons with Paraguay’s Nacional.
“Cristian is a typical number nine, despite his age he has over 100 games playing as a top forward in a tough league,” Pareja commented on his newest acquisition. “He’ll provide us with a different taste for a No. 9. Rotating that position with our other forwards, he’ll give us a different look. We are flexible to play with two strikers if we want, or have with him and Maxi [Urruti] with the wingers that we have.”