For weeks we have been hearing about a defensive or a box-to-box midfielder being added to the FC Dallas roster. After yesterday's move to land Hendry Thomas from Colorado, I believe that move can be officially crossed off the list.
Now that FC Dallas has someone like Thomas, they can cross the midfield enforcer tab off the list and now shift their focus forward a bit in their final moves of the preseason. New coach Oscar Pareja now has a solid mix of veteran players in his midfield to go along with the speed and youth that he likes to have on the outside.
What it means for the midfield
I think most fans will really like the midfield tandem of Adam Moffat and Thomas once we see it on the pitch. Both players are gritty and with Moffat's MLS experience (not to mention MLS Cup experience), the team finally has a pair of players that can and should compliment one another in the center portion of the midfield.
The pair will be able to be the link in the midfield that has been lacking for a couple seasons now. Not to mention both players will give the toughness that has also been lacking there as well. And finally, and probably most importantly, they will give Mauro Diaz the space and the outlet to be the facilitator in the offense. Having gritty players that win the ball the way these two do in the midfield will open up how Diaz is able to control the play on offense and allow guys like Fabian Castillo, Brian Span, and Ryan Hollingshead space on the wings to play.
What it means for the defense
Looking at how a possible starting lineup would appear. You have to think that the best chance for success in the midfield has Moffat and Thomas sitting in front of the defense as well. While last year the team did do well early on in the season with Andrew Jacobson and Michel in front of the defense, the second teams figured out how to play against Michel and Jacobson, the defense suffered because of it. (Not to mention injuries played a major factor as well)
Having someone like Thomas in front of the defense should keep the pressure off guys like Matt Hedges and George John. It could also allow Oscar Pareja to work in a real rotation in the back with guys like Stephen Keel and Walker Zimmerman too. We know the depth is there in the back to be good but now that the defense has some legitimate protection in front of them, things should go smoothly once the midfield comes together.
Giving time and patience
As nice as this all sounds on paper, we have to give this group some time to gel and get accustom to one another on the field and in the locker room. We know that Thomas liked playing for Pareja and that Pareja knows what to expect out of him.
We're seeing this all over MLS at the moment with teams that made a slew of changes this winter aren't having the greatest amount of success in preseason games. That is to be expected in these early stages.
Next moves going forward
I mentioned this yesterday, but it appears that even though FCD gave up a decent chunk of change in allocation money, they are still pressing forward on their next Designated Player signing. I would fully expect that signing to be a forward, likely another Young DP like Andres 'Manga' Escobar.
This group is going to be tight when it comes to the salary cap this season from what I can tell, so I would also imagine some other trades could happen to free up some cap space or to get back some allocation money that was lost in the trade yesterday.
So in other words, there is a good chance that the next move won't be for a player in return. Instead it will be to get money, likely for a DP that will come in at some point this season.
The roster currently sits over 30 players and we will likely see one or two come in next week to camp when the team heads to Florida. Competition is at an all-time high with this bunch too, which is a good thing. Hopefully by the end of it all, Pareja will have a very solid group for March 8.