FRISCO, Texas – He might stand only 5-foot-5, but nowadays, FC Dallas midfielder and Honduran international Marvin Chavez is walking a little taller.
Just four days after re-signing with the MLS Cup finalists, Chávez celebrated with his international teammates as Honduras captured the Copa Centroamericana in a 2-1 victory over Costa Rica last month.
Chávez, who notched his second international goal in the semifinals against El Salvador, expressed great pride for the opportunity to suit up for his country of 7.5 million.
[inline_node:102975]“It’s a great feeling because we know that everyone from our country was watching us," Chávez said. “We are already preparing [for the Gold Cup] and the important thing is we’re going step by step.”
Thanks to the Copa Centroamericana win, Honduras join fellow Central American teams Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador and Panama in this summer's Gold Cup, which the United States will host.
For Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman, however, having Chávez on the right side of midfield will help maintain the offensive juggernaut that finished the 2010 regular season with 42 goals, third-best in MLS.
“He brings tremendous speed on the flank, quickness and experience,” Hyndman said. “Obviously he’s very sharp right now as he just came out of games with Honduras.”
However sharp he is now, Chávez actually began the 2010 season struggling as he was sidelined with a series of injuries.
Hyndman admitted that the Honduran seemed to lack confidence because of those injuries, and that became a problem. However, the winger returned to form after the All-Star break, finishing the season with three goals and two assists, including the postseason.
No performance was more important than against the LA Galaxy in the Western Conference Championship. His cross to league MVP David Ferreira set up the first goal and Chávez later finishws the scoring in FC Dallas’ 3-0 stomping of the defending Western Conference champions.
WATCH: Chávez feeds Ferreria
After a season in which FC Dallas tied the league record for fewest losses, the 27-year-old entered Tuesday’s first training session of the season with another set of expectations for the 2011 campaign.
“My goal is to exceed what we did this past [season],” Chavez said. “It’s not going to be easy but it’s not impossible; with hard work and sacrifice it can be done.”
On a personal level, Chávez said he hopes this season will start much differently than the last.
“I want to play well from the start of this year and fight for one of the 11 starting spots,” he said.
And now, with the right side of midfield open due to the departure of Atiba Harris to the Vancouver Whitecaps, the importance of Chávez does not go understated.
“We have to keep him on the field,” Hyndman said. “I thought he was very good once we got into the playoffs and helped our team become very successful.”