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Top Five Pre-Season Roster Battles: #4 Ricardo Villar vs Daniel Cruz

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Currently, FC Dallas sits with all eight international spots filled with the additions of Blas Perez, Hernan Pertuz and Carlos Rodriguez. With those three as well as roster stalwarts Fabian Castillo, David Ferreira and Jair Benitez taking up the other three spots that leaves Villar and Cruz as the guys on the chopping block should another international be signed.

Ricardo Villar was thrust into the spotlight last season when David Ferreira's injury happened, starting 14 of the last 16 games including the playoff loss to New York. His time last year was up and down, though, in my opinion, Villar struggled to catch up to the speed of MLS. I, as much as anyone, respect the need to give a player time to adjust to a new league, David Ferreira being the prime example, however Villar's play did not seem to get better as the season went on.

The bottom line is the attacking midfield position needs to have production and 0 goals/2 assists isn't getting the job done, especially given Villar's inexplicably high contract, tied for 5th highest on the squad. On the bright side, the Brazilian did bring a level of professionalism and technical ability to the position. He scored a very nice free kick in Open Cup play and was shifted around positions a bit.

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Daniel Cruz was brought in without a whole lot of fanfare in the middle of the 2011 season with a nice pedigree as the #10 and talisman of Belgian first division side Germinal Beerschot for nearly a decade. Cruz came in and showed flashes of talent, scoring a very nice goal in Chicago, but also struggled to really make an impact. On a significantly smaller contract closer to $100k and two years younger than Villar, Cruz seemed to have the inside leg on making the squad coming into 2012, but he has been sidelined with an injury that could keep him out for the majority of the pre-season.

I can't see how FC Dallas keeps both guys on the roster, but you've got to think at least one will stick around for the time being as Dallas sits without a suitable replacement for David Ferreira should the unthinkable happen again. Realistically, I think Dallas could do well finding a better option than either of these guys to backup Ferreira, but as it stands, Villar and Cruz are likely going head to head for a 2012 roster spot. What are your thoughts on these two players?

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