Pearce, Benítez set to anchor FCD left side

Hyndman's swap could become a regular feature

When the starting
lineups for last week’s match between Columbus and FC Dallas were released,
there were a few changes from FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman.

The most notable was
regular left back Jair Benítez switching to left midfield, with right back
Heath Pearce shifting to the opposite side to take Benítez’s place.

Benítez had played
left-mid during his pre-FCD days in his native Colombia while Pearce had also
logged time at left back, but neither had played there much at all during their
several months in MLS.

And for the most
part, the moves worked. The FCD duo played well off each other for much of the
evening and drew solid reviews from Hyndman after the club’s 2-2 draw, meaning
that a similar set up is likely in store when FCD face the New York Red Bulls
on Saturday at Red Bull Arena.

“I think it’s really
a pretty neat combination, because you have two players that are left fullbacks
and then you’ve got two players that are left midfielders,” Hyndman said. "I thought they
played both positions really quite well. I thought that they
created a lot of problems for Columbus.”

Both players admit
they liked the new look.

“I felt very
comfortable and very good,” Benítez said Wednesday.
“I have played in the midfield before. I know Heath pretty well by now and his style of play. I felt really
comfortable playing on that side with him.”

For his part, Pearce
agreed with the move.

“I think Jair and I
both have an understanding of both positions, which is an advantage," Pearce said. "It makes
the runs forward less risky because you know you’ve got a guy who will stay if
you go. We make sure we cover our defensive responsibilities
first.”