FC Dallas technical director Fernando Clavijo’s year-long search for depth at forward is over.
In one audacious double-swoop, Dallas put the Western Conference on notice Monday afternoon, acquiring two big-name attackers in Kenny Cooper and Eric Hassli and turning their stable of forwards from a weakness into an overwhelming strength.
In fact, Clavijo says their new-found attack could be the strongest in the league.
“Absolutely, no question about it,” Clavijo told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Monday evening. “Production alone when you look at what Blas [Pérez] did and Kenny Cooper did, it’s extraordinary the amount of goals that Kenny scored.”
Certainly the higher profile of Monday’s signings is hometown forward Cooper, who spent three-and-a-half seasons in Frisco from 2006-09. With the sale of Brek Shea, Cooper instantly becomes the local face of the franchise and after an 18-goal season good for second-best in MLS, Clavijo was a bit surprised to find him available.
“With new coaches, new ideas come to every single team,” he said. “Sometimes you question, 'Are they looking for goals or are they looking for names?' And it may work for them. I’m glad that New York was looking at that evaluation, because it allowed us to bring Cooper back to Dallas.
“He’s still a young player who scores a lot of goals and hopefully he’s a player we can have here for many years to come. … I was very surprised, to be honest.“
The word Clavijo repeated over and over was “excited” and it’s tough to blame him. Monday's moves give FC Dallas something they’ve lacked since Cooper’s first run: a multitude of proven options and competition at forward.
“I think it’s key for everybody,” Clavijo said. “Players will tell you themselves that anytime they have competition for their position it makes them better as a player. I think that’s the case.
“Before, if Blas didn’t score, we were questionable about who was the next guy coming in. But right now we have proven goalscorers in three different guys and that’s not looking at Fabián [Castillo], Jackson and David [Ferreira]. I’ll tell you right now, I’m excited and looking at the team offensively, I’m excited.”
Daniel Robertson covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com