FRISCO - FC Dallas is all-in on 2017.
As the calendar turns to the final two months of the season, the club was presented an offer that had to legitimately consider for two of their best players. Argentine-side San Lorenzo wanted Maxi Urruti and Michael Barrios, the club’s leading scorer and assist man. And they wanted them bad - to the tune of $5 million combined.
Dallas, however, couldn’t part from their plan for 2017. Not with the sole goal of winning the club’s first MLS Cup. Not even in the midst of the team’s current six-game winless streak.
"Our steady goal here at the club is very simple: we want the MLS Cup. We told our fans that is our stated goal, and if you take away our leading scorer and [Barrios] is leading us with assists, it makes it very difficult.," FC Dallas President Dan Hunt said Thursday. "These are two very fine players here at the club, two very well respected players in Major League Soccer, and we went through the whole process. We visited with the players, and they initially were very honored for the opportunity to go to San Lorenzo, but they didn't want to abandon their teammates here.
"Obviously $5 million gives you a lot of resources to improve your roster, but our [transfer] window is closed and so it is hard to add players in this window to improve the team."
Urruti, selected first overall in the 2015 MLS Re-Entry Draft from Portland, has been exactly the immediate-impact player Dallas thought he could when they traded up for that first overall selection. From his very first game, the striker has been FCD’s leading scorer - racking up nine goals in 2016 and smashing that mark with a career-best 12 already in 2017.
Barrios, brought in as a little-known winger from Colombia in early 2015, has blossomed into one of the most dangerous wide players in MLS - equaling Urruti’s nine-goal total last season and showcasing a new talent as set-up man in 2017. His 12 assists are tied for second-best in MLS this year and three times the total of his previous two seasons combined.
"They want to win a championship or our fans. They are happy here in Dallas," Hunt said. "It doesn’t mean that in the future that there won't be opportunities for them to move along, and both of them recognize that, but they have a stated goal of winning a championship and not quitting on their teammates."
After the season, Hunt did say December could be a busy month with clubs around the world looking to add FC Dallas players.
"There is a lot of interest in the rest of our roster and we'll have to evaluate that [in December]," he said. "We will only let players go if it is one, beneficial for FC Dallas, we can improve ourselves, and two, if it is the right fit for the player. We want to make sure they go to the club that helps them continue to grow their stature and helps raise help the stature of FC Dallas."