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The Curious Tale of Santiago Mosquera’s Impact

How will the arrival of the new winger/striker influence the rest of the team?

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FC Dallas made headlines last week by finally announcing the addition of its newest offensive weapon, Santiago Mosquera. The new #11 made quite the splash in his first action with the team, providing a scintillating run before setting up Maxi Urruti for a tap-in finish against the New England Revolution. It gave fans some hope that they will finally see the production on the left wing that was vacated by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named when he left for Turkey.

This signing, coupled with Santi’s strong showing means that some players are going to see a change for better or for worse in both their playing time and production. My good friend Jared joins me as we take on this topic.

Which player is most excited with the addition of Mosquera?

Mohammad: Mikey. I was going to say Mauro Diaz with all the through balls he can send to both sides of the field now, but I think Michael Barrios is going to be ecstatic about Santi occupying defenders on the left side of the field. This will allow them not to cheat on his side and make for, hopefully, much more space behind the defense.

Jared: I will go with Mauro. It looks like Mauro finally has that speedy outlet opposite Mikey B to send the ball through to. On top of that, defenses will have to respect that speed and wont be able to close down on Mauro as much in the midfield. Santi should allow Mauro just a little more time to find that perfect pass to unlock defenses. Lastly, Santi is also able to come inside with some technical ability. I am really interested to see if him and Mauro will have any success with some “1-2s” in close spaces.

Which player is disappointed to be losing playing time as a result of the deal?

Mohammad: Paxton Pomykal. He was set to be potentially the starting winger/backup #10 behind Mauro Diaz before Mosquera was finalized. Given that Lamah is making a good amount of cash, it will be interesting to see if Pareja is willing to sit him on the bench and give Paxton the playing time he so desperately needs for his development.

Jared: It’s got to be Roland Lamah right? The guy had double digit goals last year and FCD rewarded him by giving his spot to a younger, better version of himself. There were certainly a lot of matches where Lamah just wasn’t there, but double digit goals is nothing to sneeze at in this league. Hopefully it pushes Lamah to be that much better this year, especially if he will be the ‘super-sub’ coming off the bench.

What excites you the most about the new YDP?

Mohammad: Speed. FC Dallas has been lacking speed for a year and a half now and it will be exciting to have that clinical counterattacking component back in Frisco. Mosquera’s run above shows that he may be able to resurrect that heavily-feared strike at any moment attack FC Dallas showcased en route to a Supporters’ Shield and US Open Cup.

Jared: Spacing. Defenses will now have to account for Mosquera when he is out on the pitch. They won’t be able to pinch down on Maxi, Mauro or Mikey. By having that second threat out wide, it’s going to force opponents to play more straight up against us. If they do decided to shift to Mosquera or Barrios, then the other should have a field day against teams.

What concerns you the most about this signing?

Mohammad: Stagnation. Hear me out, but I am worried about the fact that Pareja has established a formula for winning and wants to go back to it. However, teams have found out how to beat Dallas, as evidenced by last year. If Mosquera signing indicates a return to the 4-2-3-1 we have come to see over the last couple of years, then I hope that we are just that much better than everybody else. Sure, I could be wrong because it is the winning formula after all, but I was kind of hoping for some change this season and we may not get that with the new signing.

Jared: Loss of shape. In the limited time Santi has had with FCD, he has wanted to wander here and there. He looks like someone playing FIFA and just chasing down the ball with whatever player they last selected. There were a couple of times last Saturday where Santi ended up on the opposite side of the field. By doing that, it makes life easier for defenses to cover the space. This team is at its best when it stretches defenses, whether that’s side to side or front to back.

What are your expectations of the team with Santi in the side?

Mohammad: Compete. I do not expect Dallas to be at the top of the league this year with last season still fresh on the mind, but I do think we will have more consistency and heart. Hopefully, Mosquera brings out the competitive juices in Tesho, Lamah, and Pomykal and they all contribute to a playoff-producing season.

Jared: Fluid offense. I feel like Mosquera is a bit of the missing piece with FC Dallas’ attack. He is going to make everyone’s lives that much easier by just being out there. Teams will have to respect his movement, on and off the ball, and will have to account for him at all times. The biggest hurdle I see is just getting to know the rest of the players around him. That will take time, especially with the way Santi likes to move inside. Once that’s figured out, the sky is the limit with this side going forward.

What are your overall thoughts on the squad impact of Mosquera’s signing?

Mohammad: Bold. I am hopeful that the return of a South American influence on the offense can be the kick-starts it needs to perform well. Credit to Fernando and Oscar for not resting on their laurels and going out and getting an attacking piece (and a costly one at that) to help with the sputtering offense. I hope the culture of the team embraces Mosquera and that he is a good team player that can bring that fun back to the squad that was sorely missing last season.

Jared: Excited. There were a lot of people who were calling for changes in the front office at the end of last year. Instead, they went out and potentially found a stud winger that should fit right into the team. Whether people want to see it or not, this team could potentially be really, really, good this year. Time will ultimately tell how everything unfolds with the season, but going into it, I’m pumped. Everyone fan longs to be excited going into the upcoming campaign. Clavijo and Co have certainly made it happen.