McCarty working towards return.
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FC Dallas Notebook: Rookies contributing, McCarty improving

FRISCO, Texas – The story of the game for FC Dallas in Saturday’s 3-1 win over D.C. United at RFK Stadium was rookie midfielder Eric Alexander scoring his first MLS goal and assisting on another.

However, Alexander wasn’t the only rookie in the FCD starting 11. Zach Loyd, the fifth overall pick in the January SuperDraft, started at center back for Ugo Ihemelu, who was out with a concussion he suffered in a 3-1 win over Philadelphia last Sunday at Pizza Hut Park.

Loyd’s name wasn’t called much during the FCD TV broadcast, a usual sign the versatile rookie had a solid evening in the middle of the yard for his club.

“I think Zach did a very good job on winning balls and being courageous,” FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman said after training on Tuesday. “I don’t think he lost any head balls. He was always competing for them. He’s 5-foot-10 and has a 32-inch vertical leap, which is great. He also has got great courage and good timing, so he’s adding a lot.”

Ihemelu Update

Speaking of Ihemelu, he still has yet to practice since his concussion nine days ago. Hyndman does expect some news on his veteran defender on Tuesday afternoon.

“He’s doing another compact test today, so we’ll have a better idea when we get those results,” said the gaffer. “He’s not been in training yet.”

McCarty Improving

While the news surrounding Ihemelu’s status for Saturday’s match against Chivas USA is likely uncertain at best, the news surrounding linking midfielder Dax McCarty looks to be better. The fifth-year midfielder has missed FCD’s last three games with a strained right quadriceps but, according to his coach, could be close to making his return.

“The negative thing, of course, is Dax being injured,” Hyndman said. “The positive is [Erica Avila], Bruno [Guarda] and Eric Alexander have all been given playing time they might not have been getting. At the same time, it will make us a better team. We know there’s going to be a day that Dax is going to be coming back.”

Brazilian Trialist in Camp

There was a new face training with the team on Tuesday. It was Flavio Dias, a 5-foot-11, 32-year-old striker from Brazil. He most recently played for Ypiranga Erachim of the Brazilian first division but also has experience in Portugal and Ukraine. Dias also played for the USL’s Daytona Tigers in 1997 and for the Orlando Nighthawks in 1998.

A More Familiar Face

Also present for Tuesday’s practice was former FCD defender Daniel Torres. The 32-year-old Costa Rican played in 15 games for FCD last year and made eight starts, but much of his 2009 season was spent rehabbing constant hamstring injuries. He also played under current FCD assistant John Ellinger at Real Salt Lake in 2006 and 2007.

Torres has caught on with FCD partner the Michael Johnson Performance Center, a facility that assists the club with their fitness.