Rolando Escobar and Blas Perez - Old Friends, Teammates Once Again

The newest edition to the FC Dallas roster has found comfort in an old friend.

Midfielder Rolando Escobar and forward Blas Perez played together as kids in their native Panama, and again as members of the Panamanian national team. Tuesday, they were reunited once again.

“He’s a great person, he’s a great player and he’s a professional,” Perez said through an interpreter. “He knows he has to show it and he [will] help us a lot.”

Perez even played a role in Escobar’s signing – the fourth-year MLS player said that he gave the coaches and technical staff a personal reference about the type of player and person that Escobar is.

“I’m very happy,” the Spanish-speaking Escobar said through an interpreter. “The team has received me very well and now it’s up to me to show all the support that I’m getting from everyone. I’m trying to adapt as quickly as possible.”

For FC Dallas, the friendship is meaningful in Escobar’s transition to his new squad.

“With Blas’ relationship [with Escobar], the most valuable part is that with two sentences he can explain [how] we work here and what is the culture within the team,” head coach Oscar Pareja said. “The adjustment for [new international signees] is not easy and having Blas just to make him gel into the group…that helps.”

Pending the receipt of his P-1 visa and ITC, Pareja said that Escobar could be available as early as Friday against Sporting KC, and adds valuable depth to the FC Dallas lineup.

“We needed another player who [could] calm things down in the middle,” Pareja said. “It’s a way for us to balance Mauro’s load. I have a few choices with Alex Zendejas – who is playing extremely well – and now Rolando. Now we have peace of mind that if Mauro is not there, we have options.”

His nickname, “the snake,” says it all – given to Escobar over the years for the way he moves quickly from side to side on the field. The well-rounded midfielder can contribute offensively and defensively, as well as help FC Dallas control the possession game, Pareja said.

After practicing with his new team this week, Escobar is eager to contribute right away.

“A lot of [the young] players are very good, very competitive,” he said. “I feel that the team really wants to win a championship and that’s why I’m here. Hopefully I can add as much as I can to make sure that we win a championship.”