Oscar Pareja's plans for FC Dallas in 2017 are clear, and they will not include Mauro Diaz until early in the summer.
Pareja recently spoke with FutbolMLS.com to touch on a number of topics ahead of the upcoming season, and one of them was the status of Diaz. The Argentine playmaker tore an Achilles tendon late last year, and is still recovering from the injury that required surgery. As a result, Pareja is not planning on having Diaz in the FC Dallas fold until the new campaign is well under way.
"I'm not counting on having Mauro until June, and he knows this full well," Pareja said.
While the absence of Diaz will be a big blow as evidenced by Dallas' early postseason elimination in 2016, Pareja sees another creative midfielder from Argentina filling in to pick up the slack at the start of this season. FC Dallas signed veteran Javier Morales in late December, and Pareja expects the former Real Salt Lake staple to help carry the attacking load.
"I think with the breath of fresh air that he was missing, Javi is going to reinvent himself," Pareja said. "I believe deeply that he has much to give us, especially while Mauro recovers from his injury."
Pareja also touched on his and FC Dallas' coaching staff's recent trip to watch Sevilla train under the instructions of talented head coach Jorge Sampaoli, who led Chile to their first Copa America title in 2015. Pareja was full of high praise.
"Those experiences help you grow," Pareja said. "The people there are very generous and allowed us to get up close and personal with their project and we had wonderful experiences. We also got to enjoy watching how they work with their academies."