FRISCO, Texas — FC Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez is looking at the positives despite a number of preseason injuries to his squad.
Since preseason began, midfielders Bryan Acosta, Paxton Pomykal, Brandon Servania, as well as co-captain Matt Hedges have all missed a significant portion of the team’s preparations for the 2020 MLS season. While it’s not ideal, Luchi Gonzalez feels the situation provides an opportunity to test his less experienced players.
“It’s important that we are always excited to work with the group,” he says. “There’s going to be individuals who come in and out of the group for different reasons. In an ideal situation, we want all of our guys healthy and available, but the reality of a team is that that’s not always the case.
“I prefer to look positive in that fact that guys will be getting opportunities and that’s important for our depth. That’s going to allow us to have more resilience towards the end of the season.”
Should FC Dallas experience similar injury woes during the MLS season itself, they will be better equipped to deal with it and move forward.
“It’s better to have this experience in preseason so that we have to adapt and give guys opportunities that weren’t going to get them if everybody’s healthy, Gonzalez continued. "We’re going to face these things in the season, so it’s better that know how to deal with it mentality in terms of personnel now, than to react to it in the middle of the season.”
Newly signed MLS SuperDraft pick Nkosi Burgess has been one of the beneficiaries of the injury absences. With Hedges out, Burgess has deputized his center back role in a handful of preseason games. While the 22-year-old may see limited MLS minutes this season, his preseason experiences will prove invaluable if Gonzalez calls upon him.
“It’s [important] that guys get experiences that challenge them,” Gonzalez said. “[Last year] we had examples like Edwin Cerrillo, Brandon Servania, John Nelson, they didn’t have the professional experience, but they earned those minutes early on and helped this team compete and that proved valuable towards the end of the season.”