FRISCO, Texas — When FC Dallas started preseason back in January, the goal for 2010 was simple: Make the playoffs.
FCD have accomplished that and now turn their focus to other things. First and foremost, Schellas Hyndman’s club wants to make a run at the MLS Supporters’ Shield, but to do that—and perhaps the most important part of Hyndman’s agenda—a number of injured starters need to return to full health.
Center back Ugo Ihemelu has been out the longest, missing since August 8 with a concussion. He continues to make progress but has yet to return to practice.
Joining the defender on the sideline are holding midfielder and captain Daniel Hernandez, who has been out for a few weeks with a left hamstring strain, and goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who suffered a right knee MCL sprain after an incident with New York’s Thierry Henry.
“I think he’s doing better,” Hyndman said of Ihemelu. “My comment to Ugo and Daniel on [Monday] was, ‘I’m not pushing you. Let me know when you’re ready but there is a timeline. You need to get games in before we get into the playoffs. Don’t think that the playoffs are here and I’m ready. It doesn’t work like that.’
As for Hartman, Hyndman says the goalie’s status remains uncertain.
“I think they’re trying to get some mobility with him,” Hyndman said. “It’s not just that, but it’s also to build up confidence. I don’t know where Kevin is but I hope he can at least start putting on his gloves and getting into goal.”
Another starter still out, but on the brink of making a return, is center back George John. The second-year defender has been sidelined with a left hamstring strain after leaving a game with Toronto FC early back on Sept. 4.
John was originally thought to be available on Saturday night against Chicago off the bench, but was ultimately excluded from the lineup.
“We try to do a pre-game test. On that Friday, he wasn’t able to get through his test the way we had hoped he would. He wasn’t sure he could go full 100 percent on a sprint,” Hyndman said. “We were hoping to dress him out and to get him a feel to get back into the team. With him on the field, he gives us a little more flexibility to go something more with Jackson.”
Shea Heads to US Camp
After coming on as a second-half substitute against the Fire on Saturday, left mid Brek Shea wasn’t at training on Monday, but he had an excuse. He joined the US national team for several days of training and will return to practice with FCD on Wednesday. Shea and defender Heath Pearce were both called in for the USMNT’s friendly against Poland on Oct. 9.
“I just thought for Brek this would be a wonderful opportunity to continue to build his self-confidence,” Hyndman said. “We have injuries, but our injuries aren’t in those positions, so I was able to say, ‘Let’s see how he responds to that type of environment.’ I know that just being there is going to make him feel so much better about himself.”
Marvin Chavez has started the last three games in place of Shea, who missed two games on suspension. Chavez has scored in each of the last two games, giving the FCD manager no reason to return Shea to the first 11.
Lambo Back in Frisco
Since the season has now concluded for USSF-2’s Tampa Bay Rowdies, so has Josh Lambo’s loan contract with them. The young goalkeeper has rejoined FCD; however, due to roster regulations, he cannot become the backup ‘keeper to Dario Sala. That role will remain with league pool goalkeeper Chris Sharpe.