FC Dallas, San Jose seek bump in offense as season kicks off

League: MLS

Posted on: 24 Feb, 2024 at 02:22 AM

Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas begin a new season likely without their expected sources of some needed offensive production.

Meanwhile, the San Jose Earthquakes could also use a little more offense.

Looking to improve their recent road play, the Earthquakes visit Frisco, Texas, on Saturday night to face FC Dallas.

Dallas (11-10-13, 46 points) made the playoffs for a second straight season in 2023, thanks to a defense that conceded 37 goals. However, FCD scored just 41, even with 12 regular-season goals from Jesus Ferreira.

Looking to support Ferreira, Dallas signed prominent Croatian striker Petar Musa for a reported $9.7 million fee. However, according to the club, Ferreira is questionable for the opener with a muscle injury and Musa remains in Croatia waiting for his work visa.

Bernard Kamungo (six MLS goals in 2023) and veteran Paul Arriola (three goals including playoffs) could be counted on to produce more early on, especially in coach Nico Estevez's new projected 3-4-3 alignment.

"I want to have an attractive team for the fans," Estevez told the Dallas Morning News. "It is an exciting stage for me as a coach and also for the players because they have to be attentive to the way we are doing things now."

San Jose also reached the postseason in 2023, despite recording the second-fewest goals (39) in the Western Conference. However, a solid defense and strong home showing helped the Earthquakes to a respectable campaign (10-10-14, 44 points).

Returning players Cristian Espinoza and Jeremy Ebobisse combined for 23 goals for the Earthquakes, who are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the club's founding. The pair could be boosted by the arrival of Amahl Pellegrino, a winger who recently starred in Norway's top-flight division.

"I think (2023) was a really good year," Espinoza told The Aftershock podcast.

"I think this year we need to double down our efforts to try to do all the best (we can)."

Guided by former Dallas coach Luchi Gonzalez, San Jose also must fare better on the road, where it won a combined three times the past two seasons.

--Field Level Media