FRISCO, Texas — After playing a key role in FC Dallas' 2-2 draw at Philadelphia in only his second game with his new team, forward Maicon Santos appears to have found his niche as the lone forward in head Schellas Hyndman’s 4-5-1.
A week after providing the assist on Dallas’ lone goal against LA, the 27-year-old Brazilian took advantage of Carlos Valdés' whiffed clearance and flicked in a goal from 18 yards for his first tally in the striped uniform.
His post-goal celebration acknowledged the team’s Brazilian roots as compatriots Bruno Guarda and Ricardo Villar joined Santos in the “John Big Smile” dance.
“Bruno I knew before from playing against him and he’s best friends with my friend, so it’s nice to play with him now,” Santos said before traveling to Philadelphia. “It’s amazing to have four Brazilians on the same team.”
Head coach Hyndman is pleased with the contributions from Santos over the past two weeks.
“I think he’s one of the better strikers that we’ve had at FC Dallas since I’ve been there,” he said in his postgame press conference, “and we’ve had Kenny Cooper and we had Jeff Cunningham — both that went on to win the Golden Boot.”
The former Toronto FC striker admitted that it’s good to have reinforcements around him, perhaps speaking out about his previous time north of the border.
“It’s good to play with a midfield that understands how to play football,” he said. “When they have the first touch, they know where they are going to put it and where they are going to move, so it’s very easy.”
Santos also provided the initial pass to Marvin Chávez that set up Brek Shea’s team-leading 10th goal of the year, and Hyndman continued to praise his summer transfer-window acquisition.
“I think Maicon is a very intelligent player,” he said. “I think he’s going to be very good for our team. He’s the one piece that we’ve been missing.”
Hyndman hints at another trade
For the first time in more than a month, FC Dallas had a full week to prepare for a match heading into Philly. But the mini-break is over, as once again they face a packed schedule. They’ll need to balance CONCACAF Champions League play, the US Open Cup and MLS league play as the regular season reaches its final stages.
After facing a tough eight-game July, FCD now will go to battle five times in three different competitions over the next 15 days.
With the international-transfer window now closed, Hyndman hinted at the possibility of adding another player from within MLS as the in-league trade deadline of Sept. 15 approaches.
“We are looking to bring somebody in to help us in the rotation, so maybe somebody on defense,” he said. “We are still talking with people about potential trades. ... We have more than a third of the season left when you add all the other competitions, and we all know that we are just an injury away from having difficulties.”
Robert Casner covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached on Twitter: @robertmcasner