FRISCO, Texas -- After George John was pulled out for the second half at Toronto FC last week with concussion-like symptoms, it was questionable whether the defender would play against LA on Saturday. It was an even bigger surprise when John scored the late game-winner in the 88th minute.
Fans were put through another scare when John was hit by a beer bottle in the back of the head immediately following his tally.
“We were scared that somehow something happened where he banged heads and was out again,” said FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman. “We were prepared to make a change, but the fighting spirit he has and the desire to win, especially in scoring the goal, I think it showed his determination.”
After having to leave after the first half against Toronto, the game plan was for John to play cautiously against LA, but as time began to expire the strategy went out the window and the resilient defender played more aggressively. Ironically, the most dangerous moment of the match occured while play was stopped.
“I knew something hit me and I wasn’t quite sure what happened; if I ran into the post or what,” John said after the game. ”Then I looked down and I saw a beer bottle. Luckily I was able to stay in and finish out the game.”
The club issued an official statement regarding the incident after the match.
"It is always unacceptable to throw anything onto the field of play because it endangers the safety of all players and personnel. In this specific incident, we have identified the individual and we are proceeding according to protocol with FC Dallas Stadium security, Frisco Police and Major League Soccer."
John’s goal secured FC Dallas' fifth win of the season, giving the club a six point lead in the Western Conference.
“The more points you get early in the season the better,” said John. “In my first four years we got off to slow starts, a lot of ties, then at the end of the season you’re struggling for points - right now we're finishing off games and getting three points, so it's great.”
Before John scored his goal, he was called for a penalty that set up a Landon Donavon penalty kick. Luckily, FC Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez was able to block the shot and set the stage for John's dramatic game-winner.
“Those things happen, it’s part of the game,” said John. “You can’t change it. The penalty was called and Raul came up with a big save, so you just got to move on. Everyone has bad plays, but you can’t let it affect the way you play the rest of game. It was great to play 90 minutes today and get the game-winner.”