Today FC Dallas traded Eric Avila, one of two players to play for a coach other than Schellas Hyndman at FC Dallas. Avila's time in Dallas will be remembered as a roller coaster ride with many highs and lows. He scored the biggest goal of 2010, the stoppage time winner against RSL that proved to be the difference in their Western Conference Semifinal playoff series.
However, Avila's highs were met with the lows of just not ever being able to adapt to the style that Schellas Hyndman wanted from him. It's not for lack of effort, but Avila was given his chances here and it just never worked out. There will hardly be a player that fans will root for to succeed around the league more than Avila.
Looking forward now, this seems to be a great trade for Dallas. Here's a few reasons why I like this trade:
Dallas is better today than they were yesterday At the simplest level, FC Dallas, on paper, is better than they were yesterday and for a team that is looking like a top team in the league without Ferreira or Castillo, that's a big deal. Santos is a clear upgrade over Ruben Luna at starting forward and allows Marvin Chavez to moved back to his natural position at right mid.
Santos comes into an established locker room There is some question about his work ethic, but do you really worry about that in a group like this? I really don't worry about that aspect of things as Captain Hernandez and the rest of the team will keep him in line. Surely he understands the opportunity he's being given here as Dallas has become one of the best teams in the league and he figures to play a prominent role in the upcoming playoff run.
He is a finisher 6 goals in 15 starts this season is a pretty good strike rate and judging by the 9 more goals Dallas has scored, the offense is going to be better around him. If you're like Toronto and Maicon Santos is one of your main offensive threats, things may not be looking so great. However, when you consider Maicon will be one of the guys left open by defenses that will look to be stopping players like Shea, Castillo, Ferreira(soon) and Chavez, suddenly this move looks pretty genius. Santos has been on bad offensive teams in MLS, lets see what he can do when there's players around him that the defenses have to worry about.
What kind of player is Santos? I could try a half-informed answer but let Duncan Fletcher of Waking the Red do it for me.
Maicon Santos, congratulations you've just got yourself an enigma. There are moments when he does look very good. Skillful, with a great shot, he scores his fair share of pretty long range goals and can be a very dangerous player.
Most of the time though this season, he's been infuriating, going missing for long portions of games. At first it seemed to be due to being played out of position, he really is not a good Attacking Midfielder, selfish with the ball, and lazy off it, TFC eventually gave up on that experiment. In the last month or so, even when played at his preferred Centre Forward postition, he was kind of useless and that was mainly down to his attitude, he seemed to stop caring and went from mercurial, to just plain hopeless.
Maybe the trade will motivate him, and he'll get back to his best, when he's there, he can be a very good forward. Unfortunately, even when he is at his best, things like work rate and off the ball effort are very rarely there. Basically if you've got room up front for a floater who'll do nothing for 89 minutes but once or twice a match do something really good, and quite often score form those moments, then it could be a good trade for you.
What did the fans think? Most were a bit puzzled when he was given the captaincy early in the season, but seemed to like him as a player, but as the season went on, we soured on him, to the extent where you won't see much crying at all about his loss. There was debate about whether we'd get anything for him, or would just have to release him outright, but very little debate about whether he was worth keeping or not, most had already given up on him.