The wait is almost over. After FC Dallas added Colombian striker Milton Rodriguez to their roster six weeks ago, the 34-year-old was expected to help solve his club’s major issue thus far this season: a lack of finishing.
Rodriguez has spent the last six weeks getting acclimated to his new surroundings and teammates, practicing and playing in a number of scrimmages. Late Friday afternoon, FCD received the player's International Transfer Certificate (ITC), which allows him to make his MLS debut on Saturday night against Real Salt Lake.
Now that the paperwork is in, FCD fans could see Rodriguez starting up top in the team's 4-1-4-1 formation. FCD manager Schellas Hyndman says he has no reservations about inserting Rodriguez into the starting lineup against the reigning league champions.
“I think it’s a little bit of a different situation than for other teams,” Hyndman said. “He’s a player that’s been with us for six weeks. He adds onto what we need: a player who can hold the ball and a player who can score.”
If the FCD head coach decides to introduce the Colombian into the lineup, Rodriguez says he’s ready to go.
“Physically and mentally, I’m ready,” the Colombian forward said through an interpreter. “I’m ready to go. I’ve been working really hard for the last month-and-a-half hoping for this moment.”
As far as playing in the 4-1-4-1 formation that Hyndman uses, Rodriguez admits he has more experience in the 4-4-2 but added he also feels comfortable playing as the lone striker.
“In Colombia, the 4-4-2 is most common but I’m not afraid to play by myself up top,” the FCD striker said. “The key is for the guys on the wings to be able to go and help me out. I look forward to this moment.”
In his short time with FCD, Rodriguez has already bonded with his new teammates and Hyndman has also seen him exhibit a fair share of veteran leadership.
“The leadership that we’re getting is you see him do things, an actions-are-louder-than-words type of mentality,” Hyndman said.
FCD captain Daniel Hernandez is just one starter who is ready to see his new teammate on the field in league play.
“He’s a guy that comes in with a lot of experience, a very smart player," Hernandez said. "He’s a great goal-scorer. That’s his strength. He’s able to hold the ball. His only adjustment will be trying to adjust to the speed of the game and seeing how he is fitness-wise.”