Austin FC wisely upgrade midfield with Tomás Pochettino

Austin FC, Tomas Pochettino (Photo by Alexis Lloret/Getty Images)
Austin FC, Tomas Pochettino (Photo by Alexis Lloret/Getty Images) /

On Thursday, February 11th, Austin FC officially announced that they have signed Tomás Pochettino from Club Atletico Talleres. The 25-year-old becomes the second designated player signed by the expansion franchise. The transfer purchase price amounted to 2.5 million dollars, per Talleres’ official site.

The Argentinean was a product of the Boca Juniors academy. In 2018, he was loaned out to Talleres which led to a permanent switch to the club. On the field, head coach Josh Wolff sees Pochettino as a major contributor for Austin in 2021.

"“Tomás is an exciting and attack-minded midfielder we have been monitoring for some time. He has the technical and tactical qualities we are looking for in a Designated Player. He will offer us pace and versatility in the midfield, and we are confident he will make an immediate impact on our attacking end.”  Source: Team Site"

Versatility in the midfield for Austin FC

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Pochettino is a welcomed addition to the midfield alongside former NYCFC captain Alex Ring. Both players possess the technical abilities to play box to box.

Like Pochettino, Ring was acquired for a hefty fee. Ring is likely to occupy space from a deeper position as a number 6 while allowing Pochettino to create more opportunities as a number 8.

Although he may be needed more centrally Wolff acknowledges Pochettino’s ability to play further up in the attack

"“He’s got exceptional qualities… to get visibility, to drive with the ball, commit players, shoot from distance, get into the penalty box, the determination to score goals.” Source: Team Site"

This begs the question as to how further involved he will be in direct scoring opportunities. Will he play at time as a number 10? Currently, Austin has 4 players whose primary position is as a central attacking midfielder.  Both Daniel Perreira and Daniel Steedman are rookies and have yet to play a single match in Major League Soccer.

Jared Stroud and Ulises Segura are viable options but were not consistent starters on their previous teams. Designated player Cecilio Dominguez could fill that role but is more comfortable playing his natural position as a left winger.

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Realistically Jared Stroud has the potential to develop as a starting calibre 10 but will need to rest from time to time. Pochettino could cover for him in that scenario. There is also the possibility that coach head Josh Wolff does not play with a central attacking midfielder and focuses on attacking from the wings. In any case, Pochettino will play a significant role.