The first of a four-part chat with FC Dallas Technical Director Fernando Clavijo about offseason roster building, Homegrowns, expansion draft and more
FRISCO - After the most successful season in franchise history, there’s no time to rest for FC Dallas Technical Director Fernando Clavijo as he builds and refines the roster ahead of 2017.
“Every year is better because when the team wins, you know you may have to change a couple things, but it gives you a different work load because things are going well [already],” he said. “We have a very competitive group, not only from ownership, but also staff, coaches and players that we're going to get better and they want to keep winning.”
With 20 players from the 2016 campaign already under contract for next year, two more Homegrown signings already inked and other signings rumored to be completed, Clavijo and the staff’s job is not wide-reaching, but honed in on a few key moves they’re looking to make this offseason.
Regardless, any addition has to be ready to go right from the start with CCL Quarterfinal play coming up quickly on February 23.
“Right now, not only are we looking at 2017 season in general, but more specifically on February 23 that we have a good opportunity to play against Aribe Unido, a very good team from Panama,” Clavijo said. “Doing that, your scouting changes a little bit and your needs change a little bit.”
With little time to spare just over two months away from their first competitive match, and a large one at that, Clavijo is looking for players that can step in and play meaningful roles right away.
First on his list is finding an attacking midfielder that can fill the short-term void of Mauro Diaz, who is out for at least the first few months of 2017 recovering from a torn Achilles (we’ll talk more about the complex replacement search in another post this week). Also on the list is the need to replace midseason departure Fabian Castillo on the wing opposite Michael Barrios and finding a goal scorer to compliment Maxi Urruti’s strong 2016 campaign up top.
“We need to get some help to Maxi, who does an incredible job up front, but we cannot send him to the war without any guns,” Clavijo said. “We have to help him, and how we help Maxi is to find a partner for him that can share some of the load.
“The good thing is is that we're three-quarters of the way there [on our 2017 roster]. Some of the other teams are just starting [from square one], so we are at an advantage.”