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FC Dallas envision nightmare for opposing defenses in Colombians Andres Escobar, Fabian Castillo

Andrés "Manga" Escobar with Colombia U-20

Photo Credit: 
Action Images (Reuters)

Opponents may think they are seeing double this season with Fabián Castillo and the newly signed Andrés “Manga” Escobar manning the flanks for FC Dallas.

Though the two players don’t particularly look alike, they both have similar qualities. Both in their early 20s, they hail from Colombia, spent time with their country's Under-20 national team, played for Deportivo Cali and are good friends. They’re also known for one key element of their game: speed.

“[They will] make this team very aggressive going forward, very attractive,” FC Dallas technical director Fernando Clavijo told media in a conference call on Friday morning. 

Escobar (pictured) will fill the void left on the outside by the mercurial Brazilian Jackson’s offseason trade to Toronto. The 22-year-old comes to Dallas on loan from Ukrainian powerhouse Dynamo Kiev – though most of his game appearances were while on loan with Ligue 1’s Évian – and FCD has an option to buy his contract at the end of the MLS season.

Dallas put in a discovery claim on Escobar three months ago, but he’s been on the club’s radar since it originally identified Castillo as a prospect more than four years ago.

But for all their similarities, Clavijo believes Escobar’s time in Europe gives him an edge to his game.

“He’s exciting,” Clavijo said. “I think he’s a little bit more polished. I think his finishing is also better and he [played] for the last three years in a different environment in the Ukraine.”

He also had a sly warning for the rest of MLS: “You’re talking about two wingers coming at you with speed in Fabián and Andrés. I just don’t want to be a defender on the other team.”

Clavijo expects both Escobar and Hendry Thomas – acquired in a trade with Colorado on Wednesday for allocation money – to accompany the team to Florida for the second half of its preseason. It puts Dallas two players over MLS’ 30-man roster limit, but Clavijo plans to wait to make any outgoing moves until the March 1 roster compliance deadline is closer to give the coaching staff more time to evaluate the team.

He also hinted that FC Dallas may not be done bringing in players.

“We are still working to try and complete the roster, which hopefully we have another move,” he said. “If not, I’m OK, we can still always have a spot that’s open for what the summer window will bring. We addressed serious issues that we had with the team for this year, and we’re extremely happy with the way it is right now.”