Monday, February 11, 2008
Saragosa back, ready to contribute
FRISCO, Texas -- There might not be an FC Dallas player who was more eager to start preseason than defensive midfielder Marcelo Saragosa.
The fourth-year Brazilian was limited to just 13 games a season ago, after suffering a sprained MCL in his right knee then undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus last September.
But following an offseason of hard work, Saragosa is back with the Hoops and once again, ready to contribute.
"I'm very happy to be back with my friends here on this team," Saragosa said. "I feel very good and with the same objective that we've always had, to start the season well and to win a championship."
When he was healthy last year, Saragosa was a solid contributor to the FCD lineup. He provided some much-needed toughness for the Hoops in the middle of the field and also had a career-high two assists. But in the end, his season was chararacterized by injuries, something Saragosa is ready to put behind him.
"It (last year) was very difficult," he said. "These are things that happen to you. All I can do is work hard to try and avoid injuries and want to get through the whole year healthy."
FCD head coach Steve Morrow is glad to have Saragosa back in the fold and expects big things from his Brazilian midfielder this year.
"I see him as an important part of the roster," Morrow said. "He's becoming a senior member of the team and a leader. He's got qualities that we admire both on and off the field. He's a hard-working, disciplined player who is also a good passer. He keeps it nice and simple and I hope we can keep him fit and healthy. We expect big things from him this year."
Saragosa initially came to the Hoops in July 2006 from a trade with the LA Galaxy, and made his FCD debut in a match against Mexican side Tigres UANL, scoring the second goal in a 2-0 win. He played in seven games, three of those starts for the Hoops in 2006.
After playing in a 4-4-2 formation for much of last season, Morrow is looking to go with a 3-5-2 scheme this season, a development that is fine with Saragosa.
"In Brazil, we played like that," he said. "We also did that with the Galaxy under Steve Sampson. In my position as a holding midfielder, I like it because it lets you play defense but also lets you get involved going forward."
The Brazilian admits that the signing of ex-Club America and Mexican national team defender Duilio Davino in the offseason by FCD definitely excites him.
"It's very good for us, especially with the experience he brings to this team," Saragosa said. "We need that type of experience. He's a good player and was captain for America. I'm happy to have someone like that playing alongside me."
However, Saragosa admits that he is even more eagerly anticipating the arrival of fellow Brazilian midfielder Carlos Rocha, whom FCD is close to signing from South American partner Clube Atletico Paranaense.
"It's good for us," Saragosa said about Rocha's imminent arrival. "I was able to meet him when I was at CAP. He's a good player and it's good to see the team is bringing another Brazilian on board."
Steve Hunt is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.