Schellas Hyndman has hinted at it, and with each small move FC Dallas have made this offseason, it looks like it could be in the cards: a switch to the 4-4-2 in 2013.
The latest addition, Brazilian forward Wesley "Pipico" Silva, whose signing was announced on Tuesday, could be the player who helps Hyndman make the long-rumored transition to the formation.
“I think that evaluating the way the league is, the teams that are finding more success are playing with two front-runners.” Hyndman told reporters in a Tuesday conference call. “We’ve not been able to go with two very reliable strikers, whether it’s been through injuries or suspensions or call-ups. What we wanted to do this year is put ourselves in the position where we can always have two attacking options.”
Since their run to MLS Cup in 2010, FC Dallas have played in a 4-1-4-1 formation that’s almost uniquely suited for attacking midfielder David Ferreira, even though Hyndman has always been a coach who prefers to play the 4-4-2 diamond formation. The signings of both Pipico and defensive midfielder Peter Luccin allow FCD the freedom to operate in that formation.
The biggest worry about the switch – too much defensive responsibility for Ferreira – is something Hyndman addressed Tuesday afternoon.
“A player of David’s qualities, you’d hate to get him in a position where he’s coming back, marking and tracking back into his own box and not having the capability of using all his abilities in creating goals and scoring goals,” said Hyndman. “But I think it’s definitely every system has it’s pros and cons, it’s just what are you prepared to give up. And I think we might be able to work around it if we have the right people to do the other parts of the work.”
A huge part of that task is having forwards with strong work rates to pressure defenders on the ball. FC Dallas technical director Fernando Clavijo saw the 27-year-old Pipico first-hand at Rio de Janeiro club Vasco da Gama, and sees the forward as a player who fits that mold.
“There are target players that stay up front and wait for the ball to get to them, but this is a guy who drops and moves around running behind the back four,” Clavijo told reporters on a Tuesday conference call. “He’s a guy who is active not only when he has the ball, but also when we don’t have it.”
Of course, it wasn't just the opportunity to switch formations that drew FC Dallas to Pipico. Just two weeks removed from his final start for Vasco in the Brazilian Championship, he might be an under-the-radar free transfer that could make a huge impact next season.
“It was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up,” said Clavijo. “His [current] contract expires on Dec. 31 and that [meant] we really needed to pull the trigger before somebody else did.”