The 19-year-old attacker established himself as a top prospect in his native Argentina, where he showcased a dynamic skillset for his boyhood club Independiente, scoring 10 goals and dishing out 10 assists in 71 all-competition appearances. That pedigree led FC Dallas to acquire him on a reported club-record $7 million fee, hoping he'll act as a foundational piece under first-year head coach Nico Estevez.
Velasco's only logged a few training sessions with his new team since arriving stateside, but Estevez told reporters Wednesday that the winger's quality is immediately apparent.
"Alan's skillset is a really quick player," Estevez said. "The way that he can control the ball and fake a little bit with the next action that he's going to do, it's very difficult for the defenders to read. I think you can see the way he can combine, some of his movements in the penalty box also that we've seen during these days. "
Velasco's last competitive match with Independiente came back in January, meaning his fitness levels are still a work in progress as he inches toward a much-anticipated club debut. For his part, Velasco said he was working with a personal trainer before joining FC Dallas, and that he's feeling close to being ready to go.
"I obviously trained with Independiente up until my final days [with them] and then got a personal coach to help me in the weeks following to be able to get in here," Velasco said through a translator. "I kept in touch with Nico and I'm still obviously working with him to see how I'm progressing and to get ready for that first game. But I feel physically well."
Whether that debut comes as soon as FCD's next match against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on Saturday (1:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+) has yet to be determined, Estevez said. They'll be cautious in their approach either way.
"We are trying to control his load because his last game was in January and even though he's been training by himself, it's not the same," Estevez said. "The decision of him traveling [to New England] or not will be day-by-day and seeing how he's evolving, how he's responding to the loads of the trainings, how he's recovering. We don't want to rush. We want to make sure that he's fit, that he's healthy and ready to play as soon as he can."
Whenever he does take the field, Velasco should boost FCD's new-look attack. Breakout star Ricardo Pepi was sold to German Bundesliga side FC Augsburg over the offseason for a reported $2 million, while US international winger Paul Arriola was brought in via a record-breaking trade with D.C. United. Homegrown standout Jesus Ferreira was also signed to a Young Designated Player deal, with DP striker Franco Jara and wingers Jader Obrian and Szabolcs Schon other key options.