Dominique Badji arrived in Frisco on Wednesday after being acquired from the Colorado Rapids, in exchange for Kellyn Acosta.
He was finally in FC Dallas colors after an over weeklong wait to arrive. Badji was waiting to get his green card in Senegal.
“It feels good,” Badji said. “Nice change of scenery, much needed. I’m looking forward to get started.”
Badji participated in tests to assess his fitness. The 25-year-old played in 16 games for the Rapids this season.
“It was nice,” Badji said after training. “It was nice to be out there. Got a little bit of rest yesterday but it was nice getting on the field, getting a little sweat and running around a little bit.”
Technical Director Fernando Clavijo revealed that Badji was a long-time target for the team. He talked about the skillset that the striker brings to the squad.
“You know what, we’ve been looking at him for a long time,” Clavijo said. “The attributes he brings to the game. … We need size, it’s a trait all the time. His work rate, you gotta remember everytime that you can play with a back four that’s a little bit high, you’re going pay the price. You’re going to pay the price with Urruti. You’re going to pay the price with Colman and now, you’re going to pay the price with Badji. Badji is physical, is quick and fast. He can win behind, he’s good in the air. The attributes is exactly what we were looking for. Somebody on the backs, you can use him on the backs, you can use him a little bit on the wings. You’re going to see him in the middle a lot with Urruti.”
Badji is known around the league as a player who sets a quick pace. Dallas has been longing for a forward that can pair with Urruti, allowing the Argentinian to drop deeper in the midfield without sacrificing anything on the attack. Clavijo believes Badji can help Urruti become a better player by giving him less responsibility and having him to focus on a specific role.
“We’re not where we are today without the way he plays,” Clavijo said. ” I personally believe that, when you take him away from responsibilities around the middle, chasing people around, which he does absolutely incredible, you also take away from somewhere and this is the ability to get closer to the goal. I believe that this addition of Badji will help Urruti in a big way. I think both players have responsibility, defensive responsibilities and they’re willing to sacrifice. Now, when Urruti comes down, Badji is going to go up and you give him a break and we don’t lose anything, because we have two players up-top that can make runs and beat people 1-on-1.”
Part of the desire to acquire Badji was his familiarity with the league. FCD coach Oscar Pareja talked about the lack of an adjustment period for Badji and how he can be able to play right away last week. Especially in this part of the season, the importance of an MLS comfortable player was important for Clavijo and company. When having a choice between a player that is international or MLS based, if skillsets are equal, the MLS player has an upper hand.
“It was an easy decision,” Clavijo said when asked about Badji as a transfer target. “We always look into it. Can a player in the league with a type of player profile that we look at. We look for the routine. We try the routine. If it doesn’t work out we go international, which we already have five to seven players in each position to deal with and do that. It’s very difficult to bring this player. Not only do we have to set him up with an apartment, visa, family, dog, bicycle. By the way and then he comes to the U.S and everything is different. So many things different that we need to take into account. People don’t do it right away but some people take three to six months to adapt. Sometimes it’s very difficult to make a decision in this window more than anything else because we are in a totally different way than the rest of the world does. Just impossible for other leagues to come in and take our players because its a window for them a really big window. It is difficult. But Badji knows the league, knows the teams, know the players.”
Dallas is very high on Badji, who has seven goals this season. When asked if he could play Saturday, Badji says he’s ready whenever the coaching staff wants him out there. He hopes to bring more goals with FC Dallas as the team revs up for the latter part of the season.
“As a forward, they bring you in for one thing,” Badji said. “That’s scoring goals. I know that they have a lot of good attacking players that are going to get me in great opportunities to be able to score goals here.”