FRISCO, Texas — FC Dallas announced the signing of Pachuca striker Franco Jara on Tuesday, confirming earlier reports of an MLS team interested in the Argentine's services.
Jara signed a contract with the club, which will begin on July 1, 2020 — during the summer transfer window.
Even though FC Dallas' newest striker won't join until July, it's not too early to take a look at how he will fit into the team with the current roster.
At Pachuca, Jara spent five seasons scoring 76 goals with 19 assists in 158 appearances — one of those was against FC Dallas in the 2017 CONCACAF Champions League as Pachuca knocked Los Toros out of the tournament. Jara will come into a system that had multiple goal-scorers across many positions in 2019, and he'll look to add on to that in 2020.
Last season, Jara netted nine goals in all appearances for Pachuca. If there's one thing to take away from his time with the club, it's his consistent goal-scoring abilities. He has a knack for finishing within the final third, and he's been on penalty-kick duty for Pachuca as well. That means Reto Ziegler could split time from the spot with Jara, depending on either player's form.
“Franco is a player that I’ve known for quite a while," FC Dallas Technical Director Andre Zanotta said. "He’s just a fighter. He never gives up in any play, and his scoring instinct is just amazing. He’s a proven goal scorer in one of the top leagues in the world, and he’s played for a high-level club. Bringing a player of this caliber to MLS, we believe he’s going to be one of the great players this league has ever seen.”
A few months ago, there were reports that two teams from Liga MX and one MLS club was interested in Jara's services. That MLS team was FC Dallas all along.
“We were targeting Jara for a while now," Zanotta said. "We were monitoring his situation, and when we found out his contract was about to expire, this made our decision even easier. We wanted to have another striker that can help us throughout the season and adding Jara is a great addition to our team.”
Zanotta was looking at Jara not only for his on-the-field performance, but also off the field as well. Zanotta said he expects Jara to fit in with the rest of the guys in the locker room, and he hopes the Argentine will have an immediate and impactful effect on all players on the roster — young or old.
“He’s a player that will be great for a locker room," Zanotta said. "He has a lot of experience playing in important leagues, and he will help all our young players and every player that we have to develop even better. He’s going to help us not only on the field, but off the field for sure.”
One of the reasons FC Dallas has brought in Thiago Santos and Franco Jara is because they are proven winners in the leagues that they come from. Santos won in Brazil's top flight, and so has Jara — along with the CONCACAF Champions League.
“Jara has won important tournaments and cups with Pachuca, and it’s always good to have experienced guys with a record of winning leagues and cups," Zanotta said. "So, the more winners we have on our team, the better. We already have a roster full of great guys and players with experiences from different parts of the world and adding to the young players that we have.”
FC Dallas will still have Zdenek Ondrasek leading the line for the forseeable future, but once Jara arrives, he's expected to help the team make the final push for the playoffs and beyond.
"Until then, we have a lot to do, but this is already a great addition we have for the final push of the league,” Zanotta said.