FRISCO, Texas — Schellas Hyndman has a tough decision on his hands this week, and once again it involves the midfield.
In the second leg of the Western Conference Semifinal last Saturday night at Real Salt Lake, the FCD gaffer started Marvin Chavez on the right flank and Brek Shea opposite him on the left.
However, that lineup was influenced by the fact that the normal starter on the right side, Atiba Harris, was out after getting ejected in the first leg the week before. Harris is now available for selection and could return to his old spot with Shea starting again on the left side.
Of course, that scenario would leave Chávez on the bench this weekend in the Western Conference Championship at Los Angeles (Sunday, 8 p.m. CT, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes).
“Chávez has really done well,” Hyndman said. “He wasn’t getting playing time because Brek was doing so well and Atiba adds so much to us. Because of Brek’s red card, it opened up an opportunity for us. He hasn’t let it go. You get a chance you’ve got to be ready to do your best. I think he brings a lot of problems.”
The speedy Honduran midfielder finished the regular season with two goals and two assists and was a force to reckon with against RSL on Saturday because of his pace and strong playmaking skills.
WATCH: Chavez cuts through RSL's defense
“I’ve been working really hard,” Chávez said. “The thing is not to just get on the field but to stay there. I’ve been working really hard and am happy to be one of the 11 that’s there on the field.”
There has been some speculation that Hyndman would want to pair Harris, who is 6-foot-2, and Shea, who is 6-foot-4, against LA to take advantage of their considerable size. At 5-foot-5, Chavez can’t offer similar stature, but what he doesn’t have in size he more than makes up for in other ways — in particular, his pace.
“When you play teams that are big in size, it’s got to be a factor,” the FCD gaffer said. “I’m more concerned about the diagonal balls than I am about the physical play on top of the box or the corner kicks because Chávez usually steps up. I do know that the corner kicks and free kicks are something where we’re going to see one of the best servers in the world [David Beckham] put it right on the money.”
On Saturday, Chávez switched to the right side, his more natural position compared with where he had been playing previously on the left side. Watching his solid performance, only those who closely follow FCD might have known he was getting his first start of the year at right mid.
“Everybody wants to be the starter — Atiba, Brek, myself," Chávez said. "But if the coaches think it’s better for me to come and play as sub, I’m here to help the team. Regardless of the role I’m playing, I’m going to go over there and give 100 percent.”