FRISCO, Texas - FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman has struggled to find the right player to partner with Andrew Jacobson in central midfield this season, but his third try could be the charm.
Hyndman dug into his bag of tricks on Sunday against Houston, moving Brazilian left back Michel to a midfield role next to Jacobson in a decision that may not be a long-term solution, but paid dividends in the big win.
“This was something I put together on one of those nights you can’t sleep,” Hyndman said after the game. “As it turns out, I think Michel did well for himself then and we were able to get a good player like Jair [Benitez] back on the field.”
Michel impressed in the Texas Derby, playing 73 minutes in the midfield before moving to left back late in the match. While the Brazilian struggled early, he very much found his feet as the game went on, showing cohesion with Jacobson that would’ve never tipped off the fact that it was their first game together.
“What Michel brought to us was that calmness and a natural left sided player,” said Hyndman. “He’s a defensive player mentally that connects well on the passes and makes good decisions…I thought what he also added that a lot of people don’t recognize is he made Jacobson better and so it may be the right thing to do for us right now until we get another player in.”
The signing of Michel, a 31-year-old veteran who has spent much of his career in Europe, flew in a bit under the radar given the high-profile additions of players like Kenny Cooper and Raul Fernandez, but it could be the Brazilian who ends up making as big an impact as any offseason addition to the club.
“It’s a new experience for me [playing in the midfield] and I thought I gave my best in the position,” Michel told MLSsoccer.com through a translator. “I had some good moments while some other moments can get better, but I’ll continue to work towards playing better every time.
I think it’s more physical and a more aggressive style [than Europe]. It takes more from a physical point of view, but I’ve got the size to adapt well and do well.”