North Texas SC’s reigning USL League One MVP, Arturo Rodriguez, has been loaned out to Real Monarchs SLC. The 2019 USL Championship winners have taken Rodriguez for the 2020 season with an option to buy.
The 21-year-old is the third player loaned from the FC Dallas system to a USL Championship side after Brecc Evans (Austin Bold) and Callum Montgomery (San Antonio FC). Francis Atuahene played for San Diego Loyal against FC Dallas, but a loan or transfer has yet to be formally announced.
“Arturo is one of the most exciting and productive players in all of USL,” RSL Technical Director Dan Egner said. “When the opportunity to bring him to Monarchs arose, we jumped at the chance to add him. He is goal dangerous, looks to create opportunities for the rest of the front line, and is one of the most technical players in USL. He’ll fit in nicely with our attack and complement the attacking pieces well.”
Rodriguez made 30 appearances for North Texas SC, leading USL-1 in assists. His winning goal in the USL League One final was Rodriguez’s eighth of 2019. The academy graduate has spent time with FC Dallas’ first team in the preseason, but was expected to be loaned to a USL Championship club before the season began.
Our take: This move is perfect for Arturo Rodriguez. Dominating USL-1 again isn’t a useful experience, you get better by playing with and against better players. As an attacking player, joining one of the Championship’s top-scoring teams is surrounding yourself with that quality in a similarly youth-focused setting.
He’ll have competition from Real Salt Lake homegrown Luis Arriaga, who played in the 10-spot in that the RSL-affiliate’s championship season in a 4-2-3-1. He will also be up against one of his former teammates in the FC Dallas academy, Devin Vega.
Rodriguez’s biggest hurdle at Toyota Stadium is his position. He’s a 10 trying to earn a contract with a team that doesn’t use a 10. We saw Rodriguez play on the wings often for NTX, but he’s more of a true 10, with Jesus Ferreira, Paxton Pomykal, and Thomas Roberts all having signed as Homegrown Players for FCD in the free-eight role that Luchi-ball employs.
Rodriguez does have the first loan this year with an option to buy, which should serve as an indication that FC Dallas may not see his future in Frisco. The older Rodriguez brother also represents an opportunity to recoup some of the investment in USL League One.
Both points go along with what we spoke about on the podcast this week. FC Dallas wants to operate North Texas SC on the policy of progressing players into the first team quickly or using the affiliate side to create value in selling players. Arturo Rodriguez could be primed to be the poster child for either if he’s able to build on last season’s successes.