Hernandez, Jackson ready to go vs. LA

Captain returning from swollen knee; Brazilian tight hamstring

Hernandez ready

Photo Credit: 
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

FRISCO, Texas — FC Dallas held their
final workout of the week in Frisco on Friday morning, just hours before they
were set to fly to Los Angeles. FCD will face the Galaxy on Sunday (8 pm CT,
ESPN2/Deportes) at the Home Depot Center in the Western Conference Championship
with a trip to MLS Cup on the line.

Head coach
Schellas Hyndman has been dealing with injury questions for most of the week, the
biggest of which centered around Daniel Hernandez. FCD’s captain missed the
first three days of training because of his knee. Cause for concern, or
precautionary?

“That’s exactly
what it is, precautionary,” Hyndman said after Thursday’s session. “Daniel is
not a player that I need to take through all the training exercises. His
experience alone will carry that. What we need is as healthy of a Daniel
Hernandez that we can have on the field.”

Before last
Saturday’s second leg of the Western Conference semifinal at Rio Tinto Stadium,
the FCD captain had to have his knee drained, putting him in question for the
deciding leg against Real Salt Lake. Hernandez went the full 90 against RSL.

“It’s not too
bad,” Hernandez said of his knee on Thursday. “Right now, it’s just being
cautious and making sure the swelling doesn’t come back. I’ll be ready to go
come Sunday.”

The news is
equally favorable on versatile first-year Brazilian Jackson Gonçalves, who could start on
Sunday at right back.

Jackson has
missed the entire week of training recovering from the cumulative effects of a
number of knocks he has taken since joining the team in August. During that
time, he has started all over the midfield and in the back. He started at right
back at Rio Tinto and played 88 minutes before coming off for Eric Alexander.

“He’s fine,”
Hyndman said of Jackson. “I talked to him a little bit. He felt a little bit of
tenderness in his hamstring [late on Saturday], so we wanted to get him off the
field as quick as we could.”

That the
Brazilian could miss a full week of practice and still be in contention for the
starting XI is a testament to his value at FCD.

“When I came
here, Schellas had the confidence that I was going to available to help the
team in many positions,” Jackson said on Thursday. “I brought my
ability to help the team in any way I could.”

FCD took two
losses to the Galaxy during the regular season, half of their total. Before
this year, the club had not won a postseason series since 1999, and they have
never been to MLS Cup.

“Of course, it’s
the most important game and also the key game to go to the finals,” Jackson
said. “But we are pretty confident that we are going to be prepared for the
next step. Now we are going to face another great team on Sunday.”