Health issues precipitated Daniel Cruz's exit

When FC Dallas added Colombian midfielder Daniel Cruz about midway through the 2011 season, expectations were high. Much was expected from the veteran midfielder because FCD had fared so well with other recent Colombian imports, guys like starting left back Jair Benitez and 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira.

Unfortunately, Cruz didn’t exactly deliver on those expectations. Sure, there were flashes that he had the skill set to do so, but in his 10 games, six of which were starts, he contributed just one goal and one assist in the regular season.

In short, the return was well short of what FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman expected when FCD brought Cruz to town. So, heading into preseason, there might not have been a player with more to lose - or possibly gain - than Cruz.

If Cruz had a good showing in preseason, he would have likely secured a roster spot, possibly at the expense of fellow veteran Ricardo Villar, and could have earned another starting opportunity. But things never played out that way as a lingering knee issue kept him on the sidelines, something which Hyndman elaborated on in late January.

“We don’t know [what’s up with him],” Hyndman said of Cruz. “He’s talking about a knee and he probably needs to get surgery. At the end of the year, we talked about he had to come in here and have a really good preseason. It looks like there’s going to be no preseason for him.”

Hyndman’s words proved to be prophetic as Cruz didn’t see a single minute during the preseason and after a scrimmage at SMU earlier this week, the FCD coach made it official what most had already known, that Cruz had indeed left the club, answering the question with a terse “Yes”.

Cruz is just the latest example of someone who was given a shot here and for several reasons, things just never worked out. Had he been healthy, who knows how things have turned?

With Cruz out of the picture, Villar has played well during preseason before a recent calf injury slowed him a bit, so maybe that’s the silver lining to come out of Cruz’s departure.