2010 was a great season for FC Dallas left back Jair Benitez. One of three players to start at least 28 of the 30 games this season(as well as four playoff games), Benitez was someone whose name you could write in pen on the team sheet.
Benitez, one of the mid 2009 signings that turned Dallas' defense around, has been fantastic for FC Dallas. The 31 year old Colombian is everything Schellas Hyndman asks for out of a left back with good speed, one on one defending, a good understanding with Brek Shea, and above-average crosses. While he only had two assists on the season, I think it's tough to argue with Benitez being the best attacking left back in MLS. His overlapping runs and attacking danger may not always show up in the stat sheet, but it certainly played a big role in the breakout year for Brek Shea.
I don't know what it is about Colombians, but (knock on wood) they just never seem to get injured. Since signing with FCD on July 22 of 2009, Benitez has missed just two of the 47 league fixtures with one of those coming due to suspension.
Keep reading for Jair's moment of the season and a twist on what he needs to work on for next year plus season grade
Moment of the season
It's tough to find one moment from the season as the entire FCD defense has been so good the entire year. I'm picking Jair's match-winning cross to Brek Shea in FCD's 1-0 win in August. Just a typical overlapping run from Benitez that we saw all season and a great cross over Thornton to Shea who heads home to bag another vital home win.
What to work on
For the 31 year old Benitez, there's not a lot he needs to change so I'm going to look at what FC Dallas needs to work on and that's getting Benitez bought and signed to a long-term deal. Jair was likely signed on a year and a half loan from Deportivo Cali in Colombia which has just expired.
His price shouldn't be overwhelmingly high so FCD needs to find a way to get Benitez signed on a 2+2 typical MLS contract. Jair, who hasn't shown any signs of being injury prone, is great in the locker room and should be a mainstay on FCD for years to come.
Benitez has done absolutely everything you could ask of him. He's defended well, played with heart in every game and helped to galvanize the locker room.
Previous 2010 player reviews: