FCD thankful for bye weekend

Hoops look to get Ihemelu, Chávez healthy before Columbus

Considering defender Ugo
Ihemelu and midfielder Marvin Chávez are both nursing injuries, FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman is one of a
number of coaches around the league thanking the schedule makers for a bye just
one week into the season.

“The off week couldn’t have come at a better time for us,”
Hyndman said Tuesday. “Maybe [if we had this break] last week, that would have
given Ugo [Ihemelu] another week to recover.”

FC Dallas found themselves a bit undermanned in a 1-1 draw
against Houston at Pizza Hut Park in the season opener last Saturday, and
struggled to contain Dynamo speedster Dominic Oduro out of the gate.

“We missed [Ihemelu] tremendously because of his athleticism
and his experience,” Hyndman said. “We had no answers for Dominic’s speed. Kyle [Davies] did a courageous job with it, but you were always on the edge of your
seat.”

Ihemelu was slated to start alongside fellow center back
George John, at least until he suffered a hamstring injury on March 24. Then
Davies went down with a broken arm in the 55th minute, leaving holding
mid Daniel Hernandez dropped back to defend while rookie Eric Alexander came on
to replace Hernandez at defensive mid.

“Oduro had the one-v-one and then he had another chance that
he skied. Having Ugo there, I think that complements our defense,” Hyndman said.
“We can play the ball quicker out of the back and are maybe a little stronger
in the back, so that’s important.”

Ihemelu talked about his injury on Tuesday, and said he
hopes to be ready after the bye week.

“It happened Wednesday,” Ihemelu said. “I was reaching for a
ball and felt it. Thankfully we have this bye week. This gives me more time to
take it easy and be ready for the next game with Columbus.”

Having to watch his teammates play the Dynamo to a 1-1 draw
was especially tough on the seasoned defender.

“It was really frustrating. Honestly, I had been thinking
about that game and knew it was a big game for us,” Ihemelu said. “Especially
with how we ended the season, we knew we had to come out with some momentum and
get a good result.”

Chávez returned to full training on Tuesday for the first
time since suffering a knee injury in a preseason game with Houston in late
February.      

“Today was his first day with the team,” Hyndman said. “I
think both [Chávez and Ihemelu] add a different dimension to the
team that we’re excited about.”

Chávez was thought to be a lock to start on the right side
of the midfield with Brek Shea starting on the opposite flank. Atiba Harris
played well on the right on Saturday and scored FCD’s only goal, however, which
could change the role for Chávez going forward.

“Even though Brek’s a left-sided midfielder, when you go
with the youth, you’ve got to be prepared for great moments and bad moments,”
Hyndman said. “I think Chávez will get on the field somewhere.”