FRISCO, Texas – Like any coach, Schellas Hyndman loves versatile players. But even he admits he was a bit taken aback by how many positions Jackson Gonçalves has been able to perform effectively at since joining FC Dallas last month.
In his MLS debut against D.C. United on August 14, the São Paulo FC loanee came on for Brek Shea with eight minutes left and performed admirably at right midfield. But he has also played at right back in recent weeks and last week against Toronto played in place of captain Daniel Hernandez as a holding midfielder.
And when center back George John injured a hamstring in the early part of the second half and had to leave the game, Hyndman didn’t hesitate to move his young Brazilian to take John’s place in the central defense.
[inline_node:316254]“It was a really difficult decision for me to make to start him as the defensive midfielder,” Hyndman said Wednesday. "I also recognize his qualities."
"He’s a defender and I didn’t want to go with somebody that I wasn’t real sure about, so I took a chance on him and it turned out [well]. We put him at center back because we needed someone and that turned out [well].”
Saturday’s showing in two different positions was just the latest solid performance from a guy who hasn’t even been in Frisco for a month.
“It was an interesting game, because I came in a different role in the beginning and got moved back,” Jackson said through an interpreter. “I did my best to help the team in both spots.”
“I thought he did great," said teammate George John. "There’s definitely a language barrier there but I think he does a great job of communicating any way possible. He’s definitely a great player, very skilled and comfortable on the ball.”
However, Jackson admits if he’s going to play in the back, he prefers to play on the right side.
“Being a right back is a lot easier just moving to the side,” the 22-year-old Brazilian said. "It’s not as complicated as stepping into the middle."
But will Jackson step back into the central role if John can’t go Saturday against San Jose? The answer, in any language, is just what the coach wants to hear:
“Of course I will.”