The European soccer season is officially over and that means the silly season has begun. This of course brings some ridiculous rumors like Miroslav Klose to New York, every other free agent to LA and third division German forwards to FC Dallas.
Seriously though, with a third of the season in the books, teams have a real feeling now on where their strengths are and what can be improved in the summer transfer window. John Ellinger and Drew Keeshan were at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday scouting the Gold Cup(hopefully they'll go after that Chicharito dude), and Schellas has spoken a couple of times on things he'd like to improve. While international signings can not officially play in MLS unly July 15, right now is crunch time for teams looking to make a big splash as agents are hard at work pimping their players looking to move to the States. Many times you'll see these guys come in for trials around the end of June to prove themselves, but there's pretty good odds that Dallas is going to sign one or two players this summer.
Let's take a look at the top five needs of FC Dallas as they head into the summer transfer window.
5)An ambidextrous winger Yes, Dallas has Eric Avila, but you begin to wonder how long he has left with this team before they try to get something for him and give him a new chance with another team. It's not a high priority, but Dallas would do well to sign a guy who can play on either wing in case Castillo, Shea or Chavez goes down to injury.
4)An attacking midfielder to bring off the bench I say this operating under the assumption that Ricardo Villar isn't going to add much to this team going forward. Dallas really doesn't have much to bring off the bench when losing to turn things around. It's very likely that Brian Leyva will be close to ready for serious contribution by this time next season, so this one would likely be a very short-term signing. Maybe a trade within the league?
3)A veteran backup center back for John and Ihemelu Bobby Warshaw is likely going to be a very serviceable player for FC Dallas in the future, but right now I don't think you want Warshaw as your first option of the bench if one of these guys goes down. Again, this one could probably be filled effectively by a trade within the league, but right now Dallas really doesn't even have a true backup center back on the roster.
2)A set piece specialist We all know just how bad the set piece service is right now. If FCD has a free kick from 30 yards or in, it is either blasted into the wall by Captain Hernandez or chipped into the box for a big bag of fail. Dallas could really use someone that forces teams to think twice before they foul Dallas near the box or concede another corner. With big bodies like George John and Brek Shea looming in the box, corners really should be more dangerous for Dallas than they are
1)A true top level forward This really feels like the last piece of the puzzle for FC Dallas and is something that requires a ton of research and investment. Fabian Castillo has worked his socks off, but we all know he's not a lone striker. Dallas needs to find someone that can actually take in long balls and hold them up while the rest of the team moves forward in attack. Yes, it likely means dropping either Castillo or Chavez to the bench sometimes but it always seems like championship teams have players coming off the bench that would start for most teams anyways.
With USOC, summer friendlies and Champions League coming up, you can't go into the busy schedule with just Luna, Milton, Galindo and Castillo as viable forward options. One FCD supporter threw out a wild plan at Saturday's game saying that Dallas should try to sign Jozy Altidore at a cut rate price as he would fit perfectly in the Dallas system. While that may be pretty far-fetched, a smart forward signing this summer could be the thing that pushes Dallas from contender to favorite.
Where do you think Dallas needs to focus their improvement this summer?