When I heard the rumors early in the offseason, I was concerned about the team trading Fabian Espindola for the unknown – a yet to be named striker or strikers. Now that we know that Robbie Findley is one of those players, it gives me much more comfort even though everything points to another fairly accomplished, although currently unidentified foreign striker as a likely addition in the near future. However, Ned Grabavoy lent some insight into the need for the change, and it wasn’t a financial one.
“Fabi’s a great player,” said Grabavoy. “He’s a great talent in this league. When the staff looked at it, they are probably trying to pinpoint some players who are maybe better suited to play off of Saborio, and maybe not so much guys who individually like Fabian who can really break things down off the dribble.”
I’m not sure if he’s to be taken literally, but Grabavoy points to potentially more than one addition to come.
“I think they are probably going to try to add a few more guys. Sabo’s a guy who likes to play in the center of the field. He’s a big body that can hold up the ball well. And so hopefully some of these guys like Robbie and the rookie we brought in, and whoever else we bring, are guys that can kind of play off Sabo a little bit and we can find some chances in the middle of the field.”
While the loss of Espindola creates some challenges for the squad and some holes to fill in, there are some issues that it also addresses. Espindola’s propensity to drop deep to pick up the ball appears to have created some challenges for the squad.
“It’s difficult because good players are going to want the ball. I want the ball and I think I just happen to be in a position where Jason says you can go wherever you want and get it. And so with Fabian, I think maybe sometimes last year it was a little frustrating because he’s playing in a different role where you really need him to stay high.”
The team was also clearly looking for a new dimension from the 2nd forward position this season, and the addition of Robbie Findley appears to have helped fill this need.
“The speed aspect – we really hope that Robbie can bring that like he did before. If you ask any backline in the league, when they have a guy like Robbie or a speedster like him to deal with – it’s in the back of their head from the beginning of the game. And so it opens different things up.”
But perhaps the end game is really to change the attacking shape of the club. The diamond is designed to allow midfielders and especially overlapping fullbacks provide width. With Espindola, he would frequently take a wide position usually on the left side of the field, leaving a dearth of numbers in the box. The moves this offseason may be designed to address that situation.
“With Sabo being such a good body in the air, and able to hold things up, and we can play off of him – hopefully we’re finding Robbie or another forward or another midfielder more behind Sabo in the center of the park and not completely wide where we’re really not in behind the defense clean. So hopefully Robbie, and whoever else they bring in to look at, can provide that.”