Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
FC Dallas' bet on Denilson makes sense
by Ridge Mahoney, August 28th, 2007 7AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls

MOST COMMENTED

Remember the wails of anguish from FC Dallas fans and a few pundits back in March when "negotiations" broke off with Dutch midfielder Edgar Davids? The two sides never got very close, according to a source. FC Dallas had offered in the neighborhood of $800,000; Davids had a sum closer to $2.5 million in mind, give or take a few guilders. There were some who believed Davids could be the missing piece to the puzzle of FCD finally reaching an MLS Cup. That was wishful thinking, since at the time, perhaps only Coach Steve Morrow had an idea what that puzzle might eventually look like.

A drastic revamping of the team's midfield had already begun and would soon accelerate: Ronnie O'Brien and Simo Valakari, and eventually, Richard Mulrooney and Ramon Nunez, out; Juan Toja and Pablo Ricchetti, and just last week, Denilson, in.

Score one, or several, for Morrow and general manager Michael Hitchcock. The FCD attack, already potent, might be unstoppable with Denilson darting and gliding about. It's certainly a smarter risk than a 33-year-old destroyer renowned as much for a prickly temperament as skill and endurance.

There are certainly questions about Denilson: a 29-year-old Brazilian World Cup winner joining an MLS team seems a few years premature at least. But regardless of the sum spent, and the bar set very high by the Designated Players who have preceded him, the knock-on effect of signing David Beckham et al brings a lot of talented foreign players within range of MLS radar.

Beckham, Juan Pablo Angel, and Cuauhtemoc Blanco have poured commitment and zeal and spirit into their teams.

They train hard, they play hard. Denilson, who speaks English fluently and is every bit as effervescent as one would expect from one so breathtakingly brilliant, can dazzle on and off the field, which is what the DP rule is all about.

There's a danger he believes MLS can be humbled with less than his best; he'll learn soon enough that he'll be marked and harassed and hounded and, yes, fouled by rugged opponents.

On the other hand, he can rely on the myriad midfield talents already present in Toja, Ricchetti, Arturo Alvarez, Dax McCarty and others.

Morrow has some decisions to make as how to deploy Denilson but way back in preseason he declared, "I'm not too much of a stickler for systems and getting labeled," he said. "I would prefer to talk about our style of play and I think that's going to involve, when we have the ball, attacking soccer and a lot of movement."

A free role would suit Denilson, either in support of one forward or two.

None of the forwards - Carlos Ruiz, Dominic Oduro, Abe Thompson - have hit the net consistently this season. Toja leads the team in goals with six. Denilson as a second forward, or attacking midfielder, or a winger, or all of the above, what's not to like?

Any serious gambler will tell you the way to win big is to bet big. Of course, that's also the fastest way to lose big. FCD could go bust on this play, which won't solve their defensive issues. But Hunt Sports Group, notoriously frugal with its MLS investments, has taken a plunge that makes sense.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
U.S. Abroad: Weekend Hot (and Cold) List    
Aron Johannsson scored his first goal in more than seven months for AZ in its 1-0 ...
WFC2 to set up shop on UBC campus    
[MLS SPOTLIGHT] The Vancouver Whitecaps became the seventh MLS club to launch a second team in ...
Youth Boys Report: U.S. U-17s take third in Chile    
The U.S. under-17 national team fell to Brazil, 4-3, in its second game at the Copa ...
Youth Boys Report: Brazil edges U.S. U-17s in thriller    
The U.S. under-17 national team fell to Brazil, 4-3, in its second game at the Copa ...
NCAA Division I Women's Tournament Scoreboard    
[SCHEDULE: Friday] The NCAA Division I Women's Tournament moves into the second round at regional sites ...
NCAA Division I Men's Tournament Scoreboard    
[ROUNDUP: Thursday] San Diego converted penalty kicks in the 89th and 103rd minutes from Keegan Smith ...
Toronto FC becomes sixth MLS club to launch second team    
[USL PRO] A sixth MLS club announced plans to enter a second team in USL PRO ...
A glimpse into the thinking of Sounders' brain trust    
[MLS SPOTLIGHT] The closest thing any MLS club is to a European-style members club, like Barcelona ...
Ferguson named Honorary All-American    
[NSCAA] The NSCAA will honor Alex Ferguson as the 2014 Honorary All-American at the organization's All-America ...
Keane, Martins and Nguyen are MLS MVP finalists    
[AWARDS] Robbie Keane, Obafemi Martins and Lee Nguyen, who will all take part in the conference ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives