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FCD high on newly signed Colombian striker

FC Dallas’ newest addition, Colombian forward Milton Rodriguez, might not officially join his new team until the July transfer window opens, but coach Schellas Hyndman is already gushing about him.

“He’s an experienced striker. He has a pretty good left foot,” Hyndman said by phone on Thursday. “He scores goals. He’s able to hold the ball. He’s good on services and free kicks.”

Rodriguez, 34, currently plays for Real Cartagena, after spending 2009 with Deportes Tolima. He has 137 career goals.

Hyndman expects him to arrive in Frisco on June 1 to begin acclimating to his new surroundings.

“He will not be able to compete until the transfer window in July but he can train with us, learn our system, get to know the players and if we have exhibition games, hopefully he can be part of that as well,” he said.

The FCD coach would also like to see Rodriguez push Jeff Cunningham, who leads FCD with four goals and who won the 2009 Budweiser Golden Boot, for playing time once he arrives.

“I think everybody needs to be pushed, from goalkeeper to striker,” Hyndman said. “The players have to be in the position where they’ve got to be looking over their shoulders. Whether they’re in form, out of form, injured or content with what’s going on, I think everybody needs to be held accountable for being productive.”

However, about a month ago, the FCD coach went to his star forward to inform him the club was about to sign Rodriguez.

“I didn’t want him (Cunningham) to hear about it or read about it,” Hyndman said. “I had the courtesy to let him know it wasn’t anything he had done wrong for us to sign this striker, it was always something I wanted to do.”

The FCD coach says that Rodriguez’s arrival doesn’t mean he is switching from his current 4-1-4-1 formation into a 4-4-2.

“He’s a player that’s coming in to help us if we want to play with two strikers or in case Jeff gets injured or if Jeff is out of form,” he said. “This gives us the ability to go into a straight 4-4-2, which is just really not a choice. I think he’s a player that brings a lot of professionalism and experience to our club.”

One thing FCD won’t have to do when Rodriguez is ready to play is make a roster move.

“We saved a spot on that roster for a striker,” Hyndman said. “We’ve been so heavily involved in trying to identify who that striker is. We had two strikers on our list. One was just a little bit too expensive and the other one, we had some question marks about the character. So we waited and got this player. We’ve had a roster spot saved for that striker.”