It's been a bit of summer of change for FC Dallas.
The additions of Franco Jara, Andres Ricaurte and Phelipe Megiolaro were offset by the injury to Paxton Pomykal and transfers of Reggie Cannon and Zdenek "Kobra" Ondrasek. Kobra's departure wasn't straight forward nor a complete soccer decision. It was about doing right by the player, who was dealing with a personal matter that ultimately paved the way for a deal to his native Czech Republic with FC Viktoria Plzeň.
“We didn’t want to lose him, we valued him," head coach Luchi Gonzalez told media on a virtual press conference. "He had some challenges with injuries and getting rhythm back, but I was clear he was going to play. At the same time time, there was a situation with family that I completely understand and 100% support. We wish him the best, we thank him for everything he did. We believed it was the right thing to do."
“We’ve got to move forward," Gonzalez continued. "Hey, I’m excited with the way Franco Jara is playing right now, I’m excited about Pepi and his versatility. We’ve got good options and competition in that area.”
Jara, who joined this summer after a fantastic run at Club Pachuca in Liga MX, is finding his form after not playing a competitive match for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic before arriving in Dallas. He has two goals in his last three games, starting all three matches.
Pepi, meanwhile, has spent minutes on the wing in attack rather than through the center. That versatility has seen him earn minutes in eight of Dallas' nine matches.
“I talked to Luchi about it recently, he said he doesn’t see me as a No. 9," Pepi said. "He sees me as a forward and that means I can play any position. I truly believe that, I think I can attack, get in the box and score goals so it feels the same.”
Further back on the pitch, Gonzalez confirmed that new goalkeeper Phelipe Megiolaro will join the team for full training on Tuesday for the first time since being acquired by the club last month.
Megiolaro, 21, has yet to make his senior team debut for the Brazilian national team but was on the bench for international friendlies against Saudi Arabia and Argentina in 2018 and Qatar on June 5, 2019. He represented Brazil in the 2017 Toulon Tournament and started in goal for Brazil’s U-20 National Team in the 2019 South American U-20 Championship.
“It’s going to take him some time to adapt to the group, technically, tactically and training style," Gonzalez said. "He’s coming from a different culture, it’ll take some time. But he’s young and we believe he can adapt quickly, he has some great teammates that play his position. Kyle and Jimmy are great humans, great competitors. I think they’ll all help each other get better.”