Blas Perez adds the missing quality to FC Dallas' attack

The Panamanian striker showed why FC Dallas brought him in with a strong debut for the club.
FRISCO, Texas - Blas Perez did not score on Sunday.

Despite having two shots at point-blank range, New York goalkeeper Ryan Meara managed to keep the big forward off the scoresheet.

But Perez not finishing those two chances may be the only downside to what was otherwise a stellar debut for the Panamanian, who has proven track record of getting goals and tormenting defenses.

With FC Dallas' abundance of attacking talent in the midfield, Dallas has been in dire need of a pure striker. With no target, the team often forced the ball up the wings in hopes of a moment of brilliance.

In the opening match of the 2012 season, all that seems to have changed.

"He definitely brings another dynamic to our team," defender Zach Loyd said of Perez after Sunday's win over New York. "He’s a big strong forward. For the outside backs or even for the center backs he’s a good outlet when pressure is coming so it definitely helps us. He’s also a good outlet for holding the ball up and having our midfielders make runs off him.

"I think today showed his quality both on and off the ball with his movement so I think he’s a huge addition to this team."

Perez and his array of skills were on full display during Dallas' second goal of the afternoon, when he held off a tackle, drew and extra defender and slipped a deadly ball into Ricardo Villar. Villar would finish the goal nicely, but it was Perez who set the table with a classic bit of hold-up play.

His presence on the pitch offers talented wingers like Brek Shea and Fabian Castillo room to roam without drawing the attention of the center backs and the defensive focus on Perez was easy to see on Sunday.

After the match FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman was full of praise for his new target man.

"It’s really hard when you’re the lone striker and you’ve got two center backs always trying to muscle you," Hyndman said after mentioning that he was extremely pleased with the striker. "Any time you knock the ball a little bit too far away, there’s some one else there.

"I thought he did a very good job holding the ball under pressure. I thought he gave two or three outstanding passes, killer passes, that we could have done something with. And then I can remember two shots that were saved that normally would not have been saved."

Hyndman went on to say that he feels Perez has plenty of goals in him, and even went so far as to say that the forward may be exactly what the team has been in need of.

"He may be that striker we’ve been looking for since we’ve lost Jeff Cunningham," he said. "I think he’s going to score a lot of goals for us this year."

If Perez is the answer that Dallas has been searching for, the club's recent history of being good but not good enough could come to end this season.

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