FC Dallas had an interested visitor taking in training on Wednesday, though technically he wasn’t a visitor. It was none other than Milton Rodriguez, the recently signed Colombian striker who arrived in the Lone Star State on Tuesday night.
The 34-year-old is slated to train for the first time with FCD on Thursday.
Rodriguez spent the bulk of his career playing in his native land. He is the third member of the FCD roster from Colombia, joining defender Jair Benitez and midfielder David Ferreira.
He was teammates with Benitez during his time with Deportivo Cali and knows Ferreira from their time together with their country’s junior national team.
“It’s very good to get here and have companions here that I know,” Rodriguez said on Wednesday. “The most important thing is first and foremost to adapt to the group and get accustomed to the lifestyle here in the U.S.”
FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman is clearly glad to finally see Rodriguez in person, especially considering how long it took to finalize his signing.
“It’s something that we probably had in place three months ago,” Hyndman said. “His season finished two weeks ago. We had penciled in June 1 or right around then. He hasn’t done anything for two weeks, so I won’t see him in game sharpness. What he has is six weeks before he has to play.”
Rodriguez knows that no matter where he plays his job as a forward is pretty cut and dry.
“My job as a striker is to score goals," he said. "Everywhere I’ve played, that’s been my job and I’ve been pretty good at it. I hope to continue that here.”
Hyndman admits he had never talked to Rodriguez personally through the entire process, but he did get some pretty great recommendations about what he could bring to his club.
"I did talk to Jair [Benitez], who played with him. I talked to David [Ferreira], too, and asked them how he was as a player," Hyndman said. "They said he’s a very good player. He has an unbelievable left foot. He’s great on free kicks, shots and finishing.”
Rodriguez’s arrival could signal a shift for FCD from the 4-1-4-1 formation Hyndman has employed with 2009 Budweiser Golden Boot winner Jeff Cunningham as the lone striker up top into a 4-4-2 where Rodriguez and Cunningham play together at forward.
No matter the formation, the Colombian striker is clearly looking forward to forming a solid partnership with Cunningham.
“I’m ready to get on the pitch,” Rodriguez said. "I have to wait until the July 15 transfer window (to play) but I’m ready to see what we can do together and how we can work together to score some goals."