FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas fans should expect to see recently signed holding midfielder Erick in uniform for the first time against the LA Galaxy in Sunday's game at FC Dallas Stadium (8 pm ET, ESPN2).
The 25-year-old Brazilian is unlikely to be in the starting lineup, but he is completely recovered from the hamstring pull suffered not long after joining the team at the beginning of July. FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman is eager to see what he has in the former Portuguese second-division player, but says he plans to bring him along slowly.
“I think he’s 100 percent ready [physically], but he’s a little bit raw,” Hyndman told reporters on Thursday. “It’s a bit of a risk for us to throw him out there without seeing him play, but we want to dress him out so that we can have him available.
“He’s a player that’s very aggressive, so he needs to understand the refereeing, the league, how things work … the last thing we want to do is start him and he gets a red card.”
For his part, Erick says that he is fully fit and enjoying life in Dallas. He confidently explained that his strengths on the field are his marking, his aggressive style and his ball winning. He also says he’s very comfortable staying back while his teammates push forward.
“Back when I played in Portugal, I played in a [4-4-2] diamond,” Erick relayed through an interpreter. “I played with two people [in the central midfield] where I had more of the defensive role between two guys where one would transition and step up and the other would give him coverage. I’m already comfortable with that from my previous team.”
If Erick shows that he is the destroyer in front of the backline that FCD desperately needs, he could allow Hyndman to finally shift to his preferred two-striker formation rather than the 4-5-1 he has usually deployed his squad in this year.
The Dallas coach has made no secret all season of his desire to play in a diamond-shaped 4-4-2, but after veteran holding midfielder Peter Luccin went down in preseason, they have had a hard time filling the defensive midfield responsibilities with the type of player that formation requires.
“If you think about a diamond, you can have a David Ferreira on the field, you can have a Mauro Diaz on the field, you can have a Ramon Nuñez on the field, even though they may not be the players you want on the field at the same time,” Hyndman explained.
“I think we have the guy on the top of the diamond. We have two to three people that could do that. But I wasn’t sure we had anybody at the back of the diamond [and] that’s the concern that we have.”