[MLS]Past connections with a member of the FC Dallas coaching staff paved the way for the club to sign midfielder Ricardo Villar, 31, who comes to MLS from German third division club SpVgg Unterhaching.
The club has been searching for a holding midfielder, according to several media outlets, but the FCD coaching staff also believes Villar can do more than just anchor the middle. The age of Daniel Hernandez (35 this year) and the offseason departure of Dax McCarty has left a gap that will be partially filled by Eric Alexander, who played impressively enough last year in his rookie season for FCD to expose McCarty in the Expansion Draft and to earn his first U.S. cap against Chile last month.
“We’re very happy to have Ricardo be part of FC Dallas,” said FCD Coach Schellas Hyndman in a team press release. “He’s a player that comes in with great experience, having played in Germany and also in Austria. He can help us In our attack. He’s got good technical ability, great vision and a very good soccer brain.
“With the pressures of trying to be the same attacking-minded and explosive type team that we’ve been in the past, we know that a lot of pressure will be on David [Ferreira]. Not only is David a good player, but now he’s MVP and I think Villar coming in will be able to take some of that pressure off David.”
Villar – a native of Sao Paulo -- played college soccer at Penn State University for current FCD technical director Barry Gorman from 1997 to 2001, scoring 27 goals and registering 31 assists. He played in the A-League with Hampton Roads Mariners and Pittsburgh Riverhounds, then moved to Europe for stints with SV Austria Salzburg, Chunnam Dragons (South Korea), and FC Kaiserslautern before signing with SpVgg in 2006.
“Ricardo Villar is an excellent acquisition for the club,” said Gorman. “He possesses numerous qualities that will benefit the club on and off the field.