To kick off the launch of the new site, I figured I’d bring some Major League Soccer action in! If you’re coming from The Higher Tempo Press, you’ll remember me as the manager of MSV Duisburg in the “Earning Our Stripes” series that ran until my departure from the site, and you might remember my tenure in charge of Australia’s Central Coast Mariners, a save that saw us win the Club World Cup after five years in charge of the team.

If you are new here, my name is Damon, and I’m an American soccer enthusiast (it sounds better than addict) who’s been playing Football Manager since FM14. If you want to know a bit more about me personally, you can message me @ericsnowmane on the Football Manager Slack, or talk to me on Twitter @fcsnowmane.

With that quick introduction out of the way, I want to get back to business! As I said, we’re in charge of a Major League Soccer team in this save. Daniel Sloane-Suarez (stole Archer’s name, if you’re familiar with Splinter Cell: Conviction) will be our hero taking charge of my local team FC Dallas over the next couple of seasons as I demonstrate what I do as I manage in the MLS.

Founded as Dallas Burn in 1995, FC Dallas was one of the ten original teams to participate in the 1996 MLS season. The club was renamed to FC Dallas in 2005 and the team moved into their soccer-specific stadium (then known as Pizza Hut Park) the same year. FC Dallas won the MLS Western Conference in 2006, 2015, and 2016, they finished runner-up to the MLS Cup in 2015, and they won the MLS Supporters’ Shield in 2016.

FC Dallas possesses a suburb youth facility, and in recent years several players have developed to become regulars in their national teams, including Kellyn Acosta, Matt Hedges, and Tesho Akindele (Canada). In addition to setting up a new dynasty in the league and finding domestic, and perhaps continental success, it’s my goal to continue to nurture FC Dallas youngsters to help them find their potential within the first team.

This is a look at the team report I was handed by assistant manager Marco Feruzzi when I took the hot seat. As you can see, despite our excellent facilities, we don’t have any promising youngsters right now, and we don’t have very good depth outside of our first team. On the plus side, we do have a fantastic first team, and to kick off the season, I’m not sure there are very many signings I want to make.

Good passing is one of the fundamentals needed to be successful, so if I’m being told that passing leaves something to be desired, it’s something to look at, but as I’ll show in just a moment, we have some very high-quality players already at our disposal.

Mauro Diaz is currently considered to be one of the best attacking midfielders in the team, and who can question that when he’s in such physically good shape. He’s a very athletic player, he’s got an excellent vision, teamwork, and other relevant attributes, and almost all of his technical abilities are fantastic. He’s very much of the type of quality that this team needs, and he’s been a regular asset to the team for the last many years! None of his attributes anywhere are particularly bad, so I anticipate that he’ll be just as good as I expect him to be, and if he doesn’t over-perform and gets signed by some big European team, he will be around for quite some time.

I’m going to disclaim right away that Maximiliano Urruti is my favourite player on the team, and he’s the guy whose name will be on the jersey I’m going to order. That said, I’ll try to be relatively unbiased, but he really is a great addition to the team, and he’s rated as the best attacker we have for good reason.

Maxi Urruti was signed into the league by Portland in 2013 but was waived just two years later. During the waiver draft, he was picked up by FC Dallas and ended up making 30 appearances and scoring 9 goals in his first season.

He’s physically in outstanding shape, and his work rate is a good highlight to an otherwise excellent set of attributes. His anticipation, composure, decisions, and off the ball ratings are very good, and he’s got an excellent first touch and finishing rating. If you give Urruti the ball, he’s the guy who will find a way to score, and I can’t think of anyone better to have on the field, especially as he’s currently making only $5.25k p/w until his contract runs out at the end of the season.

Goalkeeper Chris Seitz is rated the best in that department. At 29-years-old, he’s still in great shape, he’s mentally as sharp as a tack, and while he’s a bit lacking in his handling ability, he’s still not that bad of a goalkeeper altogether. He’s been with the club since his 2010 departure from Seattle, and while there’s still some time for good soccer from him, I think that with his age I’m going to be looking for a younger replacement that I can focus on developing sooner rather than later, because as the team grows I won’t see him growing much with us.

On the defensive side, we have Kellyn Acosta. The 21-year-old is a product of the FC Dallas youth academy and has made 113 appearances for the team and 15 appearances for the United States Men’s National Team.

His strength is lacking a bit, but he’s got good stamina and acceleration, and he’s a very determined and intelligent and capable player, with good scores in his marking, and tackling, all attributes I’ll find useful when I play the defensive midfielder in a right-fullback position. He’s valued at over $3m, and while I want to hold on to him, he’s getting attention from other teams, so if he performs to his potential, that could easily become an issue for me down the road. Oh, and speaking of potential, the staff seems to think he can continue to develop even further, as evidenced by the blacked out fifth star in his potential, so the young international can definitely keep developing for the next handful of years.

At centre-back, we have 26-year-old Matt Hedges. He joined FC Dallas in the 2012 SuperDraft as a 1st round pick, and he’s gone on to make 150 senior appearances for the team, though he’s only been capped 5 times by the USA. With 16 jumping reach, 14 strength, decent determination and positioning, and great heading, marking, and tackling, he’s got everything a star MLS player needs to flourish in this league. He was named to the MLS Best XI in 2015 and 2016, and he was the Defender of the Year in 2016.

He’s a great leader, has an excellent work rate, and as in real life, he’s going to continue to be the team captain as long as he’s with the team under Daniel Sloane-Suarez.

This was a bit of a lengthy update since I included looks at many of the regular senior members of the team to give you an idea of the quality of the team. As you can see, this is a team that’s designed to go places, and we’re going to reach as high as we can reach!

We do have a youth academy filled with newgens right now, but none of them are looking good enough to be of note at present, so I’ll put more focus into the youth once I bring some in either by the youth intake or as signings to the club.

The first team is looking strong, but the staff is average or below average in almost every sense, so I’m going to have to make some signings to the backroom if I want to give this team the support we need to continue to grow. In the next update, I’m going to go over some of the existing staff that we have, and I’m going to introduce some of my preseason staff signings after I make them.