Photo courtesy of FC Dallas via Twitter.
FC Dallas announced today that they have acquired Ezeqiel Cirigliano from River Plate via loan today, pending receipt of his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate. It is a move that has been in the works for some time, but is finally coming together.
One interesting note is that he comes to FC Dallas via the new Targeted Allocation Money rule, announced earlier this month.
The visa and ITC process is vague and might take a little time, but in recent years has taken 2-4 weeks, if not less, relative to newly acquired FC Dallas players.
The 23-year-old Argentine midfielder comes from fabled River Plate, and he has a past relationship with fellow FCD Argentine midfielder Mauro Diaz.
The expectation is that Cirigliano will compete for a spot at defensive midfield. The only questions are how soon and how far can he go, as it is apparent that the Argentine comes in with a level of quality that Ulloa nor Acosta may be able to match at this point in their careers, although the first question is probably the better one as it has taken most international players a bit of time to transition to how MLS plays for a variety of reasons.
On the other hand, Cirigliano comes in a a physical ball winner with skill – the kind of player that might actually be a good fit for the league, and his transition might not take as long.
The “Big Upside” possibility here is very real – if Cirigliano is even close to Diaz’ level of play at a complimentary position, Dallas could eventually switch to a 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield where Cirigliano plays as a true No. 6, controlling the area in front of the defense by himself and allowing Oscar Pareja to add a second forward to the arsenal that Diaz has to work with.
The challenge there, though, is that such a formation requires more from the outside midfielders and outside defenders – a transition that might be hard to implement mid-season, especially with right midfield being a rotation of players at this point, none of whom have really nailed down that spot.
The other, more off-color question, is how well his past role really fits the role Pareja envisions for him. Back in 1997, the then Dallas Burn signed a “defensive midfielder” from Argentina, Daniel Peinado. But when he started playing for the team, he was not what most expected of a defensive midfielder. When asked about it, the explanation was that he more played defense “in” the midfield in Argentina, where the speed of play was different than in MLS. That isn’t to say that this will be the case with Cirigliano, but rather to say that a new player has to adjust to his new team, and for a player who has not trained with the team extensively, if at all, it is hard to estimate how well he will fit with the team.