One of the most notable differences between this preseason and years past for FC Dallas has been a lack of trialists. With a shortened span of just six weeks to get ready for opening day, most of the faces in camp have been relatively familiar, but one new guy is making the most of his opportunity.
Michel Garbini Pereira, a Brazilian left back most recently with Aris FC of the Greek Super League, has been a fixture on the left side of training sessions in Frisco through the first two weeks of preseason, suggesting that Colombian Jair Benítez could have some stiff competition for his position this season.
“I think Michel is a very good defender,” Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com last week. “I saw him five years ago or so when he came here to play against FCD with Atlético Paranaense, but of course you’re just kind of looking at him.”
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“Two years ago, when I was in Spain, he played for Aris against Atlético Madrid in Madrid and he just kind of caught my eye, so when he became available and was willing to come in on trial I said, ‘We have to take advantage of this.’”
The Brazilian did himself no harm during Saturday’s friendly victory against the University of Memphis, showing his versatility in a composed first half at center back before switching over to his customary left back position for the second 45 minutes. Back in his natural spot, Pereira took over the match, providing two crosses on the two goals for FC Dallas, including a pinpoint curler in the 91st minute that was turned in for the game-winner.
“Playing as a center back is something I can help with, but it’s not my natural position,” Pereira told reporters through a translator after the match. “I’ve usually always played as a left back, but I can help there whenever the team needs some help.”
Without a club at the moment, Michel seems to fit perfectly into an FC Dallas squad that could use another outside back to round out the defense, and both sides seem motivated to get a deal done.
“I feel very comfortable here and the club opened doors for me,” the Brazilian said. “I like my teammates a lot, the locker room, the coaches and everyone in the club. I think I can help here a lot.”
Hyndman has been extremely complementary of the defender, even ambitiously suggesting that he could be composed enough to play a defensive midfield position.
“It’s really been a pleasant surprise how well he’s worked out for us,” said Hyndman. “[He has] good technical ability, good experience and a very good professional. We like what we’re seeing and I think it gives us more depth on our left side and he could also play center back so there’s a really good advantage to that.”