On July 24th, 2018, FC Dallas signed Chilean youth international Pablo Aranguiz for what was reported to be around 1.2 million dollars as a TAM player.
He was supposedly going to be the like-for-like replacement of Mauro Diaz who had left for the Middle East that same summer. However, as we are approaching the first year anniversary of his arrival, it seems like his contributions have been underwhelming, to say the least.
It’s important to note that we definitely won’t be seeing Pablo playing this weekend, as he was surprisingly called up the Chilean U23 National team this week. Hopefully, this is a refreshing opportunity that will help him get back to form.
It is weird for fans, however, to say he’s going to get “back in form.” because he has never truly been in form. When Oscar Pareja was still coach, and especially during the short playoff run in 2018, he didn’t use Pablo as a consistent starter, which confused and irritated many fans. Oscar then calmed the worries of the fanbase by stating that the development of Pablo was a project and that his development has to be taken slowly. Although this calmed some people. many thought that he needed to be included more in the games.
This season, it was clear from the beginning that Luchi was going to push Paxton Pomykal into the role of playmaker, which was a relief to many fans that were worried about his possible stunted growth under the Papi era. This resulted in Paxton tearing up teams during the first two months of the season, as his continual energy and great passing ability made him the best player on the team for the first couple of games. This caught the eyes of many in the league, and due to his performances, it was no surprise that he was called up onto Tab Ramos’ squad for the U20 World Cup that is occurring currently.
With Edwin Cerrillo and Brandon Servania also called up for this tournament, and with other international call-ups and multiple injuries plaguing the club, it was assumed correctly that Pablo would be given the reigns to some extent for the next set of games. He was first played out wide, which obviously wasn’t going to work due to his playstyle, and then was placed at the 10 position for the last couple of games.
It hasn’t really worked out.
You can see the Mauro Diaz resemblance in specific moments in matches. He has the same low center of gravity that allows him to make quick turns and make quick decisions on passing. When he makes the right decisions, you can see the quality.
However, he doesn’t make the right decisions constantly. There were 9 times that I counted in the last Vancouver Whitecaps FC game that Pablo lost the ball with what I would call a stupid decision. His brainfart moments include running into defenders, passing into defenders, and skying shots (he hasn’t scored a goal for the club yet).
His positioning also is a cause for concern. In a game that the team comes in as the underdog, as FC Dallas was when LAFC visited the club, you need your playmaker to place himself in positions of opportunity to help the team. He hasn’t been able to do that in an FC Dallas shirt. In the game against LAFC, he was able to attempt only 19 passes, with 6 of those passes not being completed.
There is also a possible lowering of morale that has occurred for Pablo since he has arrived. Pareja not throwing him in probably wasn’t the best start for Aranguiz. Not scoring and not assisting since his arrival has also probably not helped. He has also been extremely unlucky, as shown in that unfortunate goal attempt against Vancouver.
Aranguiz has been poor, but fortunately, Thomas Roberts, who is behind him in the depth chart, is only 17, and even with the #PlayTheKids movement, I don’t think that Luchi would start Roberts regularly.
But it is worth noting that Paxton, Cerrillo, and Servania will come back during the next three weeks, once the US U20’s get kicked out of the tournament (after yesterday’s performance, I have little confidence in their ability to play well consistently in the tournament). And since he has left for the Maurice Revello tournament in France, Arangiz has probably lost his opportunity to claim the starting role over Paxton.
This isn’t the worrying part, though. He is a useful player, and his repertoire gave the fanbase the idea that he was going to be a star. He shows those flashes that make one giddy at his prospects. But it this awful form keeps up, he will be out in the summer, especially knowing the amount of importance the club places on selling for profit.
Hopefully, when Aranguiz comes back from the tournament, his form would have improved.
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