CLUB: FC Dallas
YEARS PRO: 6
Carlos Gruezo's signing slipped under the radar when FC Dallas brought him in as a Young Designated Player from German outfit Stuttgart in January, but the two-way midfielder has proven to be one of the top young players in all of MLS.
A full Ecuadorian international since 2014 and the fourth youngest player at the 2014 World Cup, Gruezo has established himself as Dallas’ starting defensive midfielder, shielding the back line and starting the attack for the Supporters’ Shield leaders, Open Cup champions and MLS Cup contenders.
What the technical staffers say:
“He’s a top, top player. Anyone who is one of the youngest in the World Cup is a talent. He’s played for the national team at such a young age. What I’ve been impressed with is that he’s come here from Europe at such a young age and been excellent game after game after game. He seems like he has a workman-like mentality, and that’s not always the case [for players] coming from Ecuador. Maybe he’s learned that in Germany. He has all the attributes in midfield.”
“He can get close to people. And you say, ‘What do you mean by that?’ Well, he’s so quick over five or six yards that when the opposition is trying to change play, he can get close enough to stop them. He’s got power and good agility to deal with clever players in and around the final third. He can get tackles in against top players. His passing range is good. His confidence is good in terms of coming and taking the ball in pressure situations. He can jump and win headers and compete.”
“When they’re down, he doesn’t go and hide. He wants to get on the ball and play forward to [Mauro Diaz] and push the ball between the lines. I’ve been very impressed with him, and I am surprised [Stuttgart] let him go. Arguably the most talented young player in the league for me.”