FC Dallas technical director Fernando Clavijo said he expects more American internationals to return to the league, but his club will only dip into those waters if they can make a big splash.
“The message from MLS has been loud and clear: They want to have everybody back into the United States prior to the World Cup, so I know that more players are coming,” Clavijo told reporters after Tuesday’s training session.
Dallas currently sit fourth in the allocation order behind Seattle, Columbus and Toronto. Guatemalan international and former Chicago Fire winger Marco Pappa’s return to the league via allocation means FCD could move up to third if he is selected by one of those three teams (Clavijo did not indicate an interest in selecting Pappa), so they will either have to wait their turn or swing a deal if a player they like returns to the league.
Clavijo has often stated his desire to add a “box-to-box” midfielder, and new head coach Oscar Pareja echoed those thoughts recently to MLSsoccer.com, hoping to make that player the linchpin of a three-man central midfield similar to the 4-3-3 formation he employed while head coach of the Colorado Rapids.
Clavijo acknowledged the club considered Edu for that role before Philadelphia traded into the top allocation spot to grab the Stoke City player on loan. Another national-team midfielder looking for a new club, former Schalke 04 man Jermaine Jones, would also have been of interest, but he has signed with Turkish club Besiktas.
Young Designated Player Mauro Díaz, who produced three goals and two assists in only 423 minutes last year, is likely to fill the primary attacking role.
For a more defensive, linking role, Dallas have a glut of options in 30-somethings Peter Luccin and Michel and MLS veterans Andrew Jacobson, Adam Moffat and Bobby Warshaw, and they could be joined by 18-year-old Homegrown Player Kellyn Acosta, who found his way into the lineup last year at right back but has played in the middle for US youth national teams.
While adding a hybrid midfielder to complement both positions would be ideal from an FC Dallas perspective, Clavijo expects to take a wait-and-see approach rather than targeting a specific name.
“We have to be very careful not to jump the gun and make decisions too quick before we know who is coming back,” Clavijo said. “Hopefully when we reach [the first] position, somebody who we really want is back, and this is another decision we have to make.”