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2013 FC DALLAS SEASON PREVIEW
Originally known as the Dallas Burn and one of the 10 charter franchises of the MLS, the team became known as FC Dallas in 2005. The squad was among the most consistent in the league's history, making the playoffs each year from 1996 to 2002, winning their conference four times and making a surprise MLS Cup appearance in 2010. FC Dallas' 2012 campaign was riddled with injuries and close calls, but the team hopes to turn over a new leaf during the 2013 season. With a St. Patrick's Day matchup against their in-state rivals, the Houston Dynamo, and primetime matchups against the Los Angeles Galaxy, D.C. United and Sporting KC, FC Dallas will have plenty of chances to make headway in the postseason race.

For much of the 2000s, FC Dallas has been a force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference, making the playoffs nearly every year and always among the top teams in the conversation for the MLS Cup. However, during the 2012 season, injuries to a series of key players and inconsistent play on both sides of the field led to the team finishing with a 9-13-12 record and just missing out on a berth in the postseason. For head coach Schellas Hyndman, this year's task will be to put together the pieces on a roster that certainly has talent but will see plenty of new faces that will need to gel together if the squad has any hope of making a serious playoff push.

During the offseason, FC Dallas parted ways with a variety of players, including midfielder Bryan Leyva, forwards Ruben Luna and Matias Jara, and goalkeeper Kevin Hartman. The team has also made strides to restock their roster with talent by picking up names like goalkeeper Raul Fernandez, defender Walker Zimmerman, forwards Eric Hassli and Kenny Cooper, as well as a number of other signings that should improve the team's depth across the board.

Looking ahead to the 2013 season, FC Dallas has plenty of big questions to answer if it is going to return to the postseason. The club will have to decide on a new goalkeeper, as former backup Chris Seitz will battle with newly signed Raul Fernandez for the starting role, or they will have to utilize a platoon at the position. The team's scoring attack took a major hit during the 2012 season, but the squad hopes that the three-headed attack of Kenny Cooper, David Ferrerira and Blas Perez will be more than enough to put goals on the board in the near future. The team is also looking for improvement out of Colombian forward Fabian Castillo, who has shown great signs of potential but hasn't put it all together on the field.

On defense, FC Dallas will look to the veteran presence of Jair Benitez, who leads a group of young defenders like Zach Loyd, Matt Hedges and George John. From top to bottom, there are plenty of new faces on the FC Dallas roster, but there is certainly plenty of talent in premium positions that could turn the team into a surprise contender for the 2013 MLS Cup.

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9/21/2014 12:43:35 AM on TCWEB1