FRISCO, Texas — During the summer transfer window, FC Dallas felt like it needed to add a piece to help the team push for a playoff spot.
With the wing in need of a boost, the team brought in winger Edwin Gyasi from CSKA Sofia using Targeted Allocation Money, or TAM. Prior to coming to Dallas, Gyasi had made appearances in the Europa League qualifying and the Bulgarian first division, scoring five goals and having eight assists for Sofia, and Dallas had hopes he’d make an impact.
But Gyasi has struggled to even get on the field for FC Dallas.
Not only has he not started, but he has also failed to make the 18 in his last five matches. It’s a difficult stretch for Gyasi who came to Dallas in pursuit of playing time and instead, has not found any.
“Very frustrating,” Gyasi told Pro Soccer USA when asked about his recent run. “I know what my qualities are, my teammates know what my qualities are. Obviously, I came here to play but I’m not playing right now. I’m working hard in training and everything but if I say that it’s not frustrating then, I’m lying. It’s frustrating.”
He made a cameo on July 13’s 1-0 loss at Minnesota, showing the dribbling and on-the-ball skills he possesses. He then started his only match, a loss to Orlando City on Aug. 3, where he went 30 minutes before being subbed off with an injury. After playing in three of his first four matches since arriving in Dallas, Gyasi has played 17 minutes since, during a 2-0 loss against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Aug. 14.
A common critique of Gyasi’s game is his reliance on his left-foot, where he can produce key sparks in attack but also get stymied from producing anything at all.
Dallas has needed an attacking spark off the bench. The team’s offensive options last week late on in a 1-1 draw against NYCFC were 16-year-old Ricardo Pepi and Santiago Mosquera. Pepi is in his first MLS season and Mosquera has struggled to produce, with an expected assist (xA) per 90 number of .06, which puts him near the likes defensive-minded midfielder Bryan Acosta.
“Gyasi is a player with a lot of clear tools,” Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez said. “He’s technical, left-footed, he can drive with the ball and he’s very technical in his feints and his deception. I think where he’s developing is efficiency and trying to find more service, trying to get on the end of service himself to score and create danger. We’re at a point in our season where that’s a challenge for him and all of our attackers and all the other teammates, whether you’re an attacker or not. Not just creating volume in the box but being efficient to put it away.”
Gyasi was forced with a bit of an adjustment period due to the Texas weather, something he mentioned was a difficulty early.
“In the beginning, I had to get used to the weather and everything,” Gyasi said. “It was way too hot but I’m good now. The weather was the main thing. The style of play I’m used to.”
Gonzalez is keeping all of his options available heading into the final two matches of the 2019 MLS season and a playoff spot on the line. However, Gonzalez does not want his team’s rhythm disrupted, as evidenced in the NYCFC match, where Gonzalez elected to hold his sub rather than bring on another forward and change up the flow of the game. This may not bode well for Gyasi’s playing time, especially with the change of style he brings being a much more ball-dominant player than anyone on the team.
“It’s not easy to come late mid-season and make an immediate impact,” Gonzalez said. “He’s got a very good heart and good connection with the players and he’s got to keep fighting and it’s up to him to be ready. He’s got a talent and he’s here for a reason. This is football, nothing is every guaranteed and opportunities are earned and I know he’s focused on trying to earn his opportunity.”
It may be difficult for Gyasi to earn time for Dallas late on but he believes that he can provide something to the team.
“I think I need a chance,” Gyasi said. “I just need a chance, that’s all. No one can tell me here that I’m not good enough to be in the 18 or to play. That’s me talking about myself.
I just need a chance. That’s all.”