Last week FC Dallas signed not one but two players. We looked at what the Hendry Thomas signing meant for the club, so now it is time to dive further into the signing of Andres 'Manga' Escobar.
FCD was able to get Esobar on loan from Ukrainian side Dynamo Kiev for 2014, with an option to buy his contract if things go well. He is expected to arrive with the team in Florida this week as the paperwork should all be sorted out.
What has been said
Fernando Clavijo told the media last Friday that Escobar has been on their radar for quite some time.
"Manga is somebody who was on our Discovery List for a long time," said Clavijo. "Since we arrived on this team, this player's name has been followed by the previous regime and same thing with us, somebody who was identified at the same time that Fabian Castillo was."
Claivijo also mentioned that they have been working on this deal for three months now as they were working with a French team that he was loaned to as well as Dynamo Kiev.
Where he fits in
We know he is an attacking player but does that mean up top with Blas Perez? Or on the wings?
Clavijo has mentioned that he could be a replacement for Jackson, who was traded to Toronto late last year. That move makes sense given how thing FCD really is on the right side (or left if they swap Castillo back over to the right). Either way, it appears that he will line up with Castillo and be the other speed option on the wings. But in the same mold, it is possible he could sit in off of Perez in the attack as well. Clavijo commented on the fact that he is a better finisher right now than Castillo, so that wouldn't be the worst option to have as well.
What the team needs next
The biggest need now is really going to be who backs up Mauro Diaz in the center of the attack. Right now, that is the thinnest spot on the entire roster. But on Friday Clavijo mentioned a couple names that could sneak up and be a solid back up this year for Diaz, a couple that I am actually excited to see mentioned.
"You're talking about a creative midfielder," said Clavijo. "You can put right in is Danny Garcia, Ryan Hollingshead, Brian Span or you can go a different formation to a 4-4-2 with strikers, which we have. To be precise in the position, [another exact player like Mauro] we don't have, but I think we have quality players that can be used in that position if needed.
Clavijo also singled out Je-Vaughn Watson a couple times as another possibility in this area as well. The other three are going to be a little dicy to count on early on but I would imagine all three will eventually compete for time when it comes to it as well. That brings me to the next point.
What Escobar brings elsewhere
At the very least right now, FCD has a starter and at least one back up in every position. That is good. Escobar in a small way was a puzzle piece that will in some shape or what bring competition to a lot of the attacking side of the midfield on this roster. Competition is a great thing to have with a young team as players will want to compete for every second that they can get on the field. Add in the veteran experience that is there as well, there is a good mix of players that will fight their way for playing time in 2014.
[Quotes from this article come from audio that was sent in by the FCD PR staff]