FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas became all too familiar with Tauro FC in 2011, providing an opportunity to evaluate international talent in an intimate way rarely available.
In two CONCACAF Champions League matches against the Panamanians, Dallas were outscored 6-4 and salvaged just a single point. But after acquiring defender Carlos Rodríguez (right) from the Tauro last Friday, the team now has something of real value to show from those struggles.
“After the first game, the coaching staff got together and said, ‘Hey, that left back is pretty good,’” manager Schellas Hyndman told reporters following Monday’s morning training session. “We paid a little more attention to him the second time, and he got forward a bit and was impressive.”
Rodríguez joins a Dallas back line that has been rejuvenated by an infusion of young talent this offseason.
The club acquired Colombian center back Hernán Pertúz, 22, earlier this month from Independiente Medellín of the Colombian first division. All-American center back Matt Hedges was also added from North Carolina with Dallas' lone SuperDraft selection.
Both moves were indications that Hyndman is preparing for the possibility that George John will join West Ham United or another club on a permanent basis in the coming months.
“Right now, Carlos is really being brought in to add depth to the team,” Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com. “He’s versatile, has good athleticism and is playing at a pretty good level – so we’re pretty excited about having him being a part of our team and then measuring him against what we already have.”
Though Hyndman believes the Panamanian fills a need as a suitable backup at multiple positions, he wouldn’t rule out a larger role for the 21-year-old next season. After all, if the youngster proves worthy of consideration for the starting XI at left back, he might also help fill the void left by the departure of Jackson in the midfield.
“I think this environment might bring the best out of him,” Hyndman said. “If Carlos is doing really well, I may bump Jair [Benítez] up into left midfield, where he’s played a little for us as well.”
While FCD are anxious to see the Panamanian in Frisco, Rodríguez has not yet had his appointment to obtain his visa, pushing his arrival back for at least a week.
“Ideally, he’d join the team with the other guys, which is right after the Panama vs. US game,” said Hyndman.
Rodríguez will have one more opportunity to impress his future teammates before arriving in Texas, as he’ll join newly signed forward Blas Peréz when Panama takes on Brek Shea, Zach Loyd and the US men’s national team on Wednesday.
If history is any indication, Rodríguez will play well at the Estadio Rommel Fernández in Panama City. His last game there against American competition: a 5-3 Tauro victory against FC Dallas.