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Two big MLS trades ship scoring firepower to FC Dallas

Feb 4, 2013, 4:10 PM EDT

Colorado Rapids v New York Red Bulls Getty Images

Until this morning, you could track back through FC Dallas rosters of the last four seasons and count on one finger – yup, one bony ol’ finger – the number of genuine front-line strikers found hanging around the club in that time.

Now, FC Dallas Stadium is overflowing with them.

Almost too many, even!

The club wasted no time in turning a cool few million from last week’s Brek Shea transfer into talent flowing back into the FCD mix. Today the club announced trades that bring Kenny Cooper and Eric Hassli to Texas.

(Good details on the Eric Hassli trade are here; More on Cooper and the relevant data are here.)

In Dallas, they join Blas Perez, the one, actual top-flight striker to suit-up and boot-up for FC Dallas since – well, since Cooper left FC Dallas back in 2008 to try soccer overseas.

Hassli’s move to Dallas is all about Toronto clearing cap room. (We talked about that in yesterday’s post.) Dallas handed over a conditional second round pick in 2014, a pittance for a man who, just more than a year ago, stood as the DP centerpiece to Vancouver’s attack.

Cooper’s move is more difficult to untangle. As we pointed out a few days back, the list of 18-goal scorers in MLS over the last four years starts and stops at Cooper and Chris Wondolowski. Yes, some of Cooper’s success was about playing alongside Thierry Henry (pictured above, with Cooper), as brainy as he is talented. Still, 18 goals is 18 goals – a fact that seemed curiously lost on New York.

What the Red Bulls get in return is allocation money; FC Dallas has plenty at the moment thanks to the Shea transfer.

We’ll look more later at this trade from #RBNY’s side, at what manager Mike Petke might desire to round out his lineup. Presumably, someone whom Henry enjoys playing with a little more than he seemed to with Cooper.

  1. wesbadia - Feb 4, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    The problem I see with FCD now (besides their glut of forwards in the stable) is that there is absolutely no midfield to outlet to those big towers they just acquired. Besides Ferreira, they are immensely lax in the creativity department. Even a holding mid position is largely vacant, sans Luccin who’s a 33 year old injury prone newcomer to the league. Hollingshead is off to Sacramento; Shea skips across the pond; and the rest are young draft picks or academy players largely unproven in the profession. That leaves Jackson and Jacobson to do the work. And if you believe the talks of Jackson going to a defensive position, then that leaves him out as well.

    Unless they’re looking to offload some of those strikers or defenders they have on the roster to acquire more midfield quality, I can’t see them competing even with the likes of Hassli and Cooper on the field. And, provided that midfield support comes in, the depth at those positions is lackluster at most, nonexistent at worst.

    Hyndman has some major problems on his hands this year. And the salary cap probably factors in as well…

    • Steve Davis - Feb 4, 2013 at 4:59 PM

      Hard to disagree. I said last week that the flank MF area is alarmingly bare. (Word than Ramon Nunez is training with the team may help, although he will always see himself as a central type.) Seeing as they’ve moved so aggressively to shore up the front line, perhaps they have something in mind for linking the lines, too.

    • mvktr2 - Feb 5, 2013 at 2:30 AM

      Nah, Dallas is gonna play a 5-2-3 formation. Pffffttt who needs midfielders!

  2. drewvt6 - Feb 4, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    Why are you worried? Cooper is perfectly fine with dropping deep into that CM role just like all the other 6’4/200lb #10/#7’s in the league and world.

    • boettcla - Feb 4, 2013 at 7:43 PM

      Unfortunately, that space is already occupied by Ferreira, who was only around briefly when Cooper was there the first go-round. If Hyndman wishes to utilize Cooper as he did the first time he was in Dallas, it’s going to be Cooper as a target man. Which confounds this dual move even further because Hassli IS Cooper almost to a T. I cannot, for the life of me, see why Hyndman would put both Cooper and Hassli on the field at the same time, which means he would be benching a rather large portion of his payroll one way or another. If he DOES, for some reason, decide to put two target men on the field, then that leaves Perez benched… another head-shaker.

      Steve is right — flank players in the midfield are the most needed, and unless they bring in true wingers (or some sort of gritty, workhorse type) to occupy those spaces, I fail to see the merit in these moves.

      • drewvt6 - Feb 5, 2013 at 1:14 AM

        Hassli is Cooper to a T and possibly better…

  3. Patrick Vollert - Feb 5, 2013 at 4:22 AM

    FC Dallas has now the option to implement a strong offensive tactic… having 3 good strikers allows the team to keep a constant attacking mentality. It is not necessary to implement a 5-2-3 formation since the three of them (Perez, Cooper, and Hassli) have to play at the same time. I believe the team can implement a mentally where the ball will always try to reach the strikers without thinking about saving their energy for the 90 minutes since there is a good backup for the forward position.

  4. mdac1012 - Feb 5, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    I have generally liked the off season moves the RBs have made so far, though this Cooper move does surprise me a little. I would hope there is another shoe to drop on the RBs end of things. While I think Cooper is a rather one dimensional and needs to be featured in order to be effective, 18 goals is still 18 goals as Steve pointed out.

  5. danielofthedale - Feb 5, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    What about the idea of converting Fabian Castillo into a wide midfield player? He has great speed so he can cover the ground. Do you think he has the crossing ability to get in service to the forwards though?

    • wesbadia - Feb 5, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      Like a poor man’s Marvin Chavez? Maybe it’d work. It’d definitely make up for the lack of speed on the flanks since Chavez left. Not sure if anyone could comment directly on Castillo’s service, though. Has anyone seen him do that before? Usually he’s on the other end of things.

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