Santos to FC Dallas, Avila to Toronto in midseason swap

Eric Avila and Maicon Santos

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Two teams at opposite ends of the table swapped attackers Tuesday, as Toronto FC and FC Dallas carried out some midseason roster tweaks.

The Reds sent Brazilian striker Maicon Santos, who’s played both forward and midfield this year, down to Texas in exchange for FCD’s Eric Avila.

Santos looked to be a crucial part of Aron Winter’s rebuild, but injuries and new arrivals have limited his time on the pitch in recent months. The 27-year-old scored 10 goals in 32 games with the Reds, the highest scorer on the team in that time-span.

The Brazilian will add depth to and likely compete for a starting spot on a Dallas front line that has been depleted by age, injury and international call-ups. In spite of that, Schellas Hyndman’s men have still remained potent thanks to the scoring exploits of midfielders Brek Shea and Marvin Chávez.

Heading in the other direction, the 23-year-old Avila will probably get a chance to compete for a starting spot himself after being used primarily as a sub in his three-and-a-half years with FCD. The attacking midfielder would seem to be a better fit for Winter’s 4-3-3 than he was in Hyndman’s preferred 4-4-2 formation in Dallas.

“[Avila] is an attacking midfielder that fits into our immediate and long-term plans,” Winter said in a statement. “All of the trades that we have made in the last few weeks have been to acquire players who fulfill a specific need for our team or fit into our style of play philosophy."

Avila nearly joined Atlas of the Mexican Primera División last month before a last-minute paperwork snafu scuttled the loan deal.

“For us, it was very difficult to see Eric Avila leave,” Hyndman said in a statement. “We are going to miss him. He is a great team player. He has scored some very important goals for FC Dallas. He has been a part of this team for almost four years. He has some very good friends and coaches here in Dallas. The problem was he was not getting enough time here and I think Toronto FC really wanted Avila to be a part of their team, which encouraged us to make a trade.”

Both FCD and TFC play the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League qualifiers this week. Neither Santos nor Avila played in their respective teams' first leg, meaning neither is cap-tied in the competition.