FRISCO, Texas -- With David Ferreira unable to play on Saturday night, Schellas Hyndman had a decision to make.
Forced to find an alternative to the irreplaceable captain in attack, Hyndman chose to insert French striker Eric Hassli into the starting lineup next to Blas Perez, and like most of his decisions so far this season, the lineup tweak paid immediate dividends.
Hassli proved a strong partner to Perez for the entire evening, tallying his first assist of the season on Jackson’s 11th-minute strike while coming just a whisker away from scoring a couple times himself.
“It’s great to be on the field,” Hassli said after the game. “I didn’t have a great first half, but thanks to my teammates. They helped me a lot, because it was really hard for my first start in maybe six months. Blas helped me a lot and all the guys around me.”
Indeed Saturday night was Hassli’s first start since October 20, 2012 as a member of Toronto FC, and with international absences quickly nearing for Perez, the Frenchman should play a huge role in the coming weeks as FC Dallas looks to stay at the top of the MLS table.
Schellas Hyndman praised the character of his club after Saturday’s hard-fought win, including Hassli in his positive words.
“I talked to [Eric] towards the end of the game and asked him if he wanted to say on,” said Hyndman. “He said, ‘I want to stay on and win it,’ but when they started making their subs and bringing on another striker I felt like we needed to control the midfield [and sub him off]. But I thought he did very well tonight.”
“It’s like the coach said, if you think you’re a better team than [D.C. United] before the game then you’re going to lose the game,” said Hassli. “We knew that they were going to put 200% into it, because they have nothing to lose playing against the first place team in MLS. So it was a tough game, but it was good to win.”
With three points in the bag from what many called a trap game, the attention now moves to Saturday’s game at Seattle, the place where Hassli scored one of the most memorable goals in MLS history as a member of Vancouver Whitecaps FC.