FC Dallas: What to know about Nico Estevez’s squad for the start of the 2023 MLS season

FC Dallas enjoyed a fine season last year and will hope more improvement in 2023 leads to them shaking off an unwanted record.

Chris JonesUSA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas are one of three teams who have an unwanted record. Along with New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution, they have taken part in every single MLS season since the first one in 1996 and have yet to win a MLS Cup. Of the current crop of clubs, Philadelphia Union are the only other team yet to taste victory in that competition, although they have only been on the go since 2010.

What trophies have FC Dallas won?

Curiously, all three have won Supporters’ Shields (which some would argue is the real sign of being the best team…), but while the Red Bulls have done so on three occasions, The Hoops and The Revs have only managed it once, with the latter’s triumph coming in 2021, five years after the former’s.

Does that mean FC Dallas currently have the worst record in MLS history? You can make your own minds up…They did, however, win the US Open Cup in the same year as they won their only Supporters’ Shield (2016) and enjoyed a run to the CONCACAF Champions League semi-finals the following year.

Former Valencia youth and reserve team coach Nico Estévez is taking charge of Dallas for a second season. DIARIOAS

How did FC Dallas do in the 2022 MLS season?

What is absolutely certain, in any case, is that Dallas were absolutely nowhere close to being one of the worst MLS teams in 2022. Nico Estévez enjoyed a superb debut season at Toyota Stadium, leading his side to a third-place finish in the Western Conference and seventh overall. They defeated Minnesota United in a penalty shootout in the first round of the playoffs but lost out to fellow Texans Austin FC in the semi-finals. A disappointing ending but a fantastic season overall, with Dallas finishing the regular season with 20 points more than 12 months earlier.

Their hard-working front three and disciplined midfield trio made them a tough nut to crack, although one criticism of them was the number of games in which they had the opportunity to go in for the kill but didn’t turn the screw.

Which players have left FC Dallas?

Club legend Matt Hodges, who played over 300 games for the club, was unable to come to a contract agreement with the club and has left for fellow MLS side Toronto FC. Veteran Argentinian attacker Franco Jara is the other main departure, which frees up a Designated Player spot.

Which players have joined FC Dallas?

The main question on everybody’s lips has been who will replace Hodges in central defence. And former New York City FC and LAFC defender Sebastien Ibeagha, who won the MLS Cup last season, will be that man. 21-year-old Brazil Geovane Jesus has also joined the club on a contract until 2026, which the option of a further year, from Brazilian side Cruzeiro and will become the latest player to try to make the right-back spot his own.

Whether Dallas are able to repeat last season’s success is likely to depend on how their new acquisitions blend into what was a resolute defence.

Who is FC Dallas head coach Nico Estévez?

Spaniard Estévez never played soccer professional and spent the first few years of his career coaching in and round his native Valencia in his homeland. After several seasons working with the Valencia youth teams, he coached their reserve side in 2013-14 and even took charge of two first-team matches as interim coach in 2013.

His first job in the States was as ‘Director of Methodology’ at Colombus Crew, where he first worked with Gregg Berhalter, who in 2017 promoted him to assistant coach. When Berhalter was named USMNT manager, Estévez was again appointed as his assistant. The 43-year old became Dallas coach in December 2021 and, as mentioned, oversaw a huge improvement in his first season in charge of his new club.

When is FC Dallas’ first game of the 2023 MLS season?

DC United’s first game of the new MLS season sees them play host to Minnesota United on Sunday 26 February at Toyota Stadium. That match will kick off at 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT.

At a glance: FC Dallas’ first five games

25 February: FC Dallas vs Minnesota United

4 March: FC Dallas vs LA Galaxy

11 March: Vancouver Whitecaps vs FC Dallas

18 March: FC Dallas vs Sporting Kansas City

25 March: LAFC vs FC Dallas

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