For the first time all season, FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman finally has his entire roster on the training field. That’s because on Monday, Honduran midfielder Marvin Chavez and second-year defender Kyle Davies returned to training for the first time in several months.
Chavez had a strong preseason and looked poised to be FCD’s starting right midfielder for the March 27 opener against Houston. However, he suffered a knee injury in late February and was sidelined for some time. When he tried to return, he injured a hamstring and has been on the shelf ever since.
The speedy Honduran played in seven games in 2009, including three starts. His last regular-season action came in last year’s season finale at Seattle when he played the final nine minutes of a loss that ended FCD’s playoff hopes.
This week, FCD travel to Houston on Wednesday and will host D.C. United on Saturday. Chavez said at training on Monday that he likely won’t be ready for FCD’s game at Houston on Wednesday, but he should be fully fit for Saturday’s home tilt against D.C. United.
“I’ve been practicing really hard and feeling good,” he said, adding he’ll be glad to not have to watch his teammates from the luxury suites or on TV. “It’s even harder to watch the game from the stands or on TV because I’d rather be on the field playing.”
As for Davies, he hasn’t played since breaking his right arm in a collision with Houston’s Dominic Oduro in FCD’s season-opener. He, too, is glad to be back on the practice field for FCD but, like Chavez, likely won’t be ready in time for the rematch with Houston.
Hyndman clearly agrees that Chavez is ahead of Davies when it comes to who will return to the pitch first.
“Marvin will probably be before Kyle to get back on the field because the only thing we haven’t done with Marvin yet is sprint work,” Dallas’ head coach said Monday. “We all know that’s one of his strengths but with the tenderness right now, he’s not ready for the Houston game but we hope he might be able to dress out for the D.C. game.”
When it comes to possible playing time, it might be hard for Chavez to reclaim his starting spot. That’s because in his absence, Atiba Harris has played well and is second on the team with two goals. Harris played especially well against New England, turning in a performance that could easily be considered one of his best since coming over in a trade with Chivas USA last July.
However, Chavez could come off the bench as an energy guy, a role that fellow midfielder Eric Avila also has filled. Both Chavez and Avila could be effective subs, especially considering they can both run at opposing players who have tired legs and make things happen offensively.
Once Davies returns, his chances to start again could be decent. Second-year center back George John has been up and down in his first five games and during the offseason, Hyndman stated that he wanted to see Davies challenge John for a starting job.
That battle never materialized during preseason mainly because Davies was still getting over offseason hernia surgery. But if John continues to be inconsistent, Davies could very well get another shot at being in the first XI.