"Everything is being considered," said FC Dallas Head Coach Oscar Pareja Friday afternoon, when asked about the
likelihood of FC Dallas bringing in a big-time U.S. National Team player to shore up the defensive midfield.
It's certainly not out of the question. Jones, the US Men's national team midfielder and World Cup star, is reportedly mulling over a $6 million/2.5 year offer from the Chicago Fire (Jones disputes these numbers, however), but a player of his caliber and fame is likely mulling over several offers, not just the Fire's. Chicago Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop said as much last night after his team's draw against Columbus.
"We have no idea if he's going to sign with us or sign with somewhere else," Yallop said. "Until you get a contract signed, like I said a couple days ago, you don't know what's going to happen. They have options, good players have options."
So, could FC Dallas be one of those options?
There’s clearly room for him. After losing one of the team’s better defenders in Hendry Thomas to season-ending injury and subsequently trading away opening day captain Andrew Jacobson, the FC Dallas midfield suddenly looks surprisingly bare heading into the last leg of the season. The trade of Jacobson seems especially telling, given that it creates significant cap space by dumping his $200,000 salary and also gives the team additional allocation money which can be used to buy down a player’s salary cap hit. If a team were trying to make room for a big-budget player the likes of a Jermaine Jones, that’s one way to do it.
Plus, Jones would be a perfect fit in the Dallas lineup. A player of his talent level could surely be one of the best destroyers in MLS, shielding a leaky back line that has given up 31 goals in 21 games. Plus, by replacing two midfielders, Jones could free up a spot for another attacker up front. Suddenly, there would be room to fit Perez, Akindele, Escobar, Castillo, and Diaz all in the same starting lineup. Given Jones’ demonstrated ability to get forward himself, FC Dallas could arguably emerge as the best offense in the league.
Understandably, Pareja said such a scenario sounds very enticing.
"How good would it be to have someone there [at holding mid] that could help us be more [lineup] flexible? That would be great."
Pareja said that no matter who they bring in, it would not just be a short-term acquisition for a potential playoff run, but a long-term move.
"We will keep searching for the right one, because that's what I want – the right one. Anyone who comes here is going to stay."
And if the speculation all comes to naught and the team declines to bring in any late season additions, Pareja, as could be expected, says he’s confident that the team is ready either way.
"I trust in this team. I've worked with these boys and if we get help, that's great. If not, we move on. We know we can make it up."