George John returns to the pitch

Defender using Portland tourney to prep for 2013 regular season

Perhaps no one has enjoyed the Portland preseason tournament more than George John.

The defender, who re-upped with FC Dallas over the off-season, returned to the pitch for the first time against AIK after a minor surgical procedure in December.

John had minor arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs from his left ankle and worked throughout the off-season to be ready in time for the season opener on March 2.

“This is great for me to get back on the field and training everyday again,” John said via phone from Portland. “I’m not anticipating any setbacks.”

John played 69 minutes on Sunday against AIK and 62 minutes on Wednesday against the Timbers.

John acknowledged he was working out the kinks in his game, but said the playing time he’s getting is invaluable. 

“It’s an excellent tune up for the season,” John said.

John has been paired with second year player Matt Hedges at center back in both matches. The two will form the backbone of the FC Dallas defense in 2013, a continuation of a partnership that began in 2012.

John said he and Hedges are on the same wavelength when it comes to working together, crediting the strong communication the two have on the pitch.

“Having a good relationship with your partner is critical for the team’s success,” John said.

The defender has one more preseason match on Saturday against San Jose – the perfect way to prep for the impending 2013 regular season.

“No better test than competition you normally face in-season,” John said. “We’re looking forward to playing against them.”

Watch San Jose vs FC Dallas LIVE on FCDallas.com at 4:30 p.m. CT.