On Tuesday, FC Dallas purchased Fabrice “Fafa” Picault from Philadelphia Union for $300,000 in General Allocation Money.
The exchange could include an additional $75,000 in General Allocation Money if Picault reaches certain performance metrics. As the first official signing of the 2020 season, it’s worth taking a dive into what fans could expect from Fafa next season.
Fafa Picault is a winger that was born to Haitian Immigrants in New York City. At 28 years of age, Fafa has had an illustrious career, making stops in Tampa, Ft Lauderdale, and Prague. His most memorable time, however, came when he played for FC St Pauli, a mid-table 2.Bundesliga side that is famous throughout the world for its fanbase. Fafa earned a starting role in the squad after not playing for Sparta Prague, which led to a call up for the US National Team under Jurgen Klinsmann.
During the winter transfer window in 2017, Fafa Picault was sold to the Philadelphia Union. He immediately became a starter, and in his first two seasons with the Union, he scored 17 goals and notched 6 assists. In 2019, Picault saw less time on the field, as players like Brendan Aaronson, Kacper Przybyłko, and Jamiro Montero. Last year he played the least amount of minutes he’s played in a Union shirt.
An athletic player, Fafa is a winger that uses his lower center of gravity and his skillset to beat defenders on the dribble.
WHAT A BEAUTY FROM @FAFAGOAL23!!!!! #DOOP https://t.co/ted6A43ipr
— PhilaUnion (@PhilaUnion) September 2, 2018
As shown by the clip, Fafa is able to beat players with his speed on the ball. His technical ability is far superior to most players on the FC Dallas roster. His skill set is different to Barrios, who beats defenses with speed rather than technical ability. Fafa’s transfer should be seen as a like-for-like replacement for Santiago Mosquera, who plays in a similar fashion.
But Picault has other tricks in his pocket that most wingers on the squad don’t have. His versatility as a striker was used by Philadelphia countless times during the 2019 season, as they mostly played with two strikers and no wingers during the year. Fafa was deployed as a high striker that would terrorize defenses with his speed. Playing as a counterpart to a tall center forward allowed Fafa to play off of Kacper, which made his athleticism and technical ability even more dangerous.
Gazelle beats Lion.
DOOP | #ORLvPHI 1 – 3 | @fafagoal23 pic.twitter.com/NBmJI5I7eM
— PhilaUnion (@PhilaUnion) July 4, 2019
He also has an amazing leap for a short player, which leads to moments like this.
.@Fafagoal23 got UP.
Two goals in two games for the kid. #PHIvHOU https://t.co/jrCV4oa6tu
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 17, 2017
The Left-wing role on the squad is currently the weakest position on the squad, which is insane considering one of FC Dallas’ DP’s is a left-winger. But with Mosquera’s nagging injuries and inconsistency, Dominique Badji’s imminent sale, and Arturo Rodriguez’s inexperience, the front office needed to fill the role during the offseason. Many expected the signing to come from overseas, but the club has opted to go with an MLS-experienced player, in order to garner some consistency from the left side that the club hasn’t had since Fabian Castillo.
At 28 years of age, Fafa Picault is a current placeholder for players who aren’t ready to play in MLS, such as A Rodriguez or Dante Sealy. His leadership for a relatively young batch of up-and-coming left-wingers will be important for their development. And hopefully, he will be able to balance an attack that has run mainly from the right side for the last 3 years.
Is this signing something you’re excited about? What other players do you think are on their way to Frisco?
What other holes do you think FC Dallas needs to fill?