Playing in Major League Soccer is a tricky thing for any foreign player. There is the travel, the different weather from region to region, and then there is the whole living in a new country thing. Most newcomers to the league typically need a few weeks if not even a few months to truly get use to their new surroundings.
That will be the case for new FC Dallas midfielder Mauro Diaz, who is 22-years old and will be playing in a completely unfamiliar place once he arrives in Frisco next week. We can't really go off his Wiki page or any other stat pages out there to really know what he will bring to FC Dallas. Same goes for the highlight reel that we added to the announcement yesterday.
There is no exact science to what I am about to say but stay with me here. All I can hope you take away from this is that you need to give Diaz patience here in Dallas before you label him anything. Sure, he may come out in his first few games and surprise us with flashes of brilliance as to why the club signed him. But more than likely, he will add a little something off the bench but not too much more than that.
The proof is really in the pudding as one might say. Look as past foreign signings by FC Dallas and other MLS clubs. Heck, it took David Ferreira nearly a half of a season to truly get comfortable in MLS.
In 2009 when Ferreira signed with the club, and at the time, most didn't know what to make of the crafty midfielder. There were early signs that he would be good for the club but he really didn't take off and score the majority of his eight goals until the summer and fall months. He didn't gobble up most of his seven assists that season until late in the year when Jeff Cunningham was scoring left and right.
Ferreira was an early season signing by the club but midseason picks ups tend to feel like they take longer to develop in this league simply because they are thrown into a team in the middle of the season.
I look at Kenny Miller in Vancouver as one example. Last year, the Whitecaps brought Miller in during July and was hoping for him to be the big striker that they were lacking. It turned out that after a few games he was not and many were quick to label him as a bust, mostly due to his Designated Players tag but also due to the fact that in just 13 games last year he only scored two goals. Both of those goals came a few weeks after being in Vancouver.
In 2013, Miller has been injured a bit but the time he has played on the field for the Whitecaps has been good. In 11 games he has six goals, a much better turn around. Most would say it is due to the fact that he got a full preseason with the Whitecaps and got acclimated properly during that time.
Another good example of needing to have patience for a big summer signing has been New York Red Bulls DP midfielder Tim Cahill. Like Miller, Cahill came over in the middle of last year for New York and looked like a total bust. In 12 games he had one goal and two assists. Not exactly the world beating numbers that one would have expected out of a World Cup veteran like Cahill.
But as this season rolled in, Cahill's performance has been nothing short of solid for New York. He has gotten use to MLS and the physical play that it brings and his numbers are much better as he has scored five goals and added three assists in 17 games this season.
Now on the flip side, there are examples of players who have come in to MLS during the middle of the season and have lit things up. In Columbus last year, the Crew added forward Federico Higuain. The Argentine forward wasted no time getting use to MLS defenses as he scored five goals and added in seven assists in just 13 games. He had . That was enough to earn him the MLS Newcomer of the Year award.
So with all of that, I preach to you, give Diaz time. Lower your expectations if you have lofty ones for him. Because as history has proven in this league,