FRISCO, Texas – You’ll be hard-pressed to find a player in the league that benefited more from the two-week international break than FC Dallas’ mercurial Brazilian midfielder Jackson.
Having been recalled from his loan spell with Cruzeiro due to the injury bug that struck FCD, Jackson almost literally stepped off a plane from Belo Horizonte to Dallas and onto the pitch for his season debut on April 25 against Real Salt Lake.
A stretch of eight games in 31 days meant he was left with little time to gain fitness, and it showed as the Brazilian logged zero goals and just one assist in his first eight games. To cap it all off, a petulant red card in the US Open Cup loss to the Charlotte Eagles left everyone wondering if the old Jackson had returned to Frisco.
It was quite the opposite, according to head coach Schellas Hyndman.
“That [red card] was the old Jackson,” Hyndman said. “I think he’s worked so hard not to be the old Jackson where he loses his emotions. In fact, when that happened, he waited at the door and told every player and every coach that walked in that he was sorry. The old Jackson would have been in his car and went home.”
Jackson looked a changed man in the 2-1 loss at Houston last Saturday, running tirelessly up and down the pitch while scoring his first goal of the season in a man-of-the-match performance.
“It was very important for me to work hard in the past days to get myself back to full fitness,” Jackson said through a translator. “I feel a lot lighter and a lot fresher and it raises my confidence to get forward with pace and create trouble.”