FRISCO, Texas – Stats can give you a pretty good idea of what Bobby Warshaw did in FC Dallas’ friendly against Leon FC Sunday night. He put in 45 minutes of work after replacing veteran Daniel Hernandez at halftime, blocked a shot that would have doubled Leon’s lead in the 81st minute, scored an 83rd minute goal to tie the match at 3-3, and buried his attempt in the fifth round of the ensuing penalty kick shootout (just before Sebastian Maz converted Leon’s last turn to win the match).
But there are no stats to inform you how hard Warshaw’s been working the last four months. On May 1, the second-year defensive midfielder fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot in a Reserve League match against Sporting Kansas City – a match in which Warshaw played the full 90 minutes.
Three days later, after the injury had been diagnosed, Warshaw had surgery to repair the fracture and begin recovering from the first major injury of his young professional career.
“It was the first major injury of my life actually,” said Warshaw. “That was probably the first practice I’ve missed in five or six years. It was hard.”
The recovery process was an entirely new one to the Pennsylvania native, and it was one he didn’t enjoy one bit.
“First you can’t train, then you get back and you have to run for weeks, then you have to make your way back into the team,” Warshaw explained. “The whole thing sucks.”
There was one thing that made the recovery a little easier. Throughout the process Warshaw made a habit of keeping himself immersed in the club culture by attending watch parties for away games and routinely visiting the supporters in the Budweiser Beer Garden during matches at FC Dallas Stadium.
The former Stanford captain said keeping in touch with that atmosphere and interacting with the fans played a major role in keeping him motivated these past four months.
“More than anything I owe a big thank you to all the fans for all the tweets and encouraging words they’ve given me over the last few months,” he said. “Four months is a long time and a lot of it I owe to those fans.
“Those are the guys that make our job cool. We love our jobs and love to do what we do, but that’s what really makes it special. Having them come and cheer you on and just genuinely want the best for you. They give up their time and their money to come out and see us and support us, so we owe it to them to thank them and spend time with them. It’s not just something I should do. It’s something I want to do.”
But as much as he’s enjoyed getting to know the people who support FC Dallas, Warshaw said he’d be perfectly happy to limit his interaction with the fans to the times when his team isn’t on the pitch.
“I hope I never go to a watching party again. I hope I never watch a game from the Beer Garden again,” Warshaw said with a smile. “I want to be contributing on the field, but I enjoyed getting to know them. I owe a lot to them for the last four months of support.”
After finally getting back on the field with his team in Sunday night’s friendly, Warshaw will have a chance to return to Reserve League action Tuesday night when FC Dallas hosts the Colorado Rapids (7:30 p.m. at FC Dallas Stadium). Warshaw could also see time with the first team for the first time since April 25 Saturday night when FCD hosts the Vancouver Whitecaps (7:30 p.m. CT on TXA21). But he says he’s not focusing too much on whether he’ll see time in those games or not.
“You just have to put in the preparation Monday to Friday and not worry too much about what the coach’s plans are. Worrying about coach’s plans won’t get me anywhere. I worry about how hard I’m going to work on the training field and let the rest take care of itself.”