News broke this morning that something had gone down with Eric Avila as he was missing from training, but it wasn't till mid afternoon that the first reports came out of a trade for Maicon Santos from Tronto FC. Included in the official deal is an international slot from Toronto that will last the rest of this season.
The trading of the international slot is quite interesting as it means FCD isn't done with their moves this summer. With the release of Milton Rodriguez earlier this week, FCD had already opened up an international slot. By acquiring another one along with Maicon Santos, The Red Stripes STILL has an open spot for one more player. A player almost certain at this point to be a defender, and more specifically it seems Costa Rican defender Derrick Johnson.
So where does that leave this Avila/Santos trade in terms of evaluating it?
The upside? FC Dallas was in dire need of some striker help, and more specifically a high target type striker. In Maicon Santos that certainly looks what they got. Add to that the Brazilian connection, Hyndman being not only a fan of Brazilian soccer but also speaking the language. All of which makes Santos a spot on fit.
Santos had started 15 games for, an admittedly weak, Toronto side with six goals to show for it this season. Not prolific, but service probably wasn't great from the TFC midfield. More importantly, Santo looks like a guy who can maybe play back to goal and hold the ball for midfielders to play off of. That's exactly what FCD needs.
The downside? TFC was obviously willing to given him up despite the fact he was their captain after Dwayne De Rosario was traded. Does that say more about the player or about TFC's desperate need to make over their team in every way possible? TFC traded Santos for a backup/bench player who doesn't play much defense. Certainly TFC needed some creative midfield help, perhaps they are looking at Avila to be a #10 type player. Maybe this shows how much they value Avila or is there something about Santos we don't know that makes him expendable?
Avila is, after all, quite an attacking talent. He never had the two way game to fit with Hyndman but he was a heck of a scoring threat off the bench. Frankly that kind of player is a luxury in MLS where teams can't afford to keep many players they don't think can start.
FCD had tried to loan Avila out earlier this year to Atlas in Mexico. After that move fell apart FCD started Avila a couple games, either to showcase him in the shop window or as a last chance to win a starting spot before they started trying to trade him. Either way the writing was probably on the wall for Avila here.
So how's the deal look? Right now it looks very good on FCD's side. A striker they needed for a player they weren't really using despite his talent level. At the end of the season if Santos has only played a game or two and hasn't scored, then we'll call this deal a bust. But as of today this looks pretty sweet.