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News Roundup: Rodríguez misses training

FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas forward Milton Rodríguez missed training on Thursday with what head coach Schellas Hyndman termed a "knock" from last weekend's scoreless draw in Columbus.

"When he was going for a ball, he got tagged," Hyndman said Thursday. "He’s having some inflammation with a shoulder."

The Colombian forward was seen working with the club’s training staff on the sidelines as his teammates went through the paces.

"Yeah, I think it is a concern because it protects you," Hyndman said of Rodríguez's shoulder issue. "One part of his strength in his game is his jumping ability in heading balls and using his arms to get there. It’s the running and protecting when people are trying to win the ball off of you.”

Rodríguez has a goal and an assist in a starting role as FC Dallas' lone striker in the past seven games. Should he not be able to start against TFC, the nod would likely go to Jeff Cunningham, FCD’s leading scorer with seven goals in 2010.

Alexander the Sponge

Like any rookie, Eric Alexander is learning all he can from the team’s veterans. But since he’s seen time both as the club’s linking midfielder and as the holding midfielder, he has the added benefit of learning from two starters in Daniel Hernandez and Dax McCarty.

“I’ve had a lot of opportunities to play in there in the linking spot and I think I’ve done an OK job,” Alexander said. “ I’m doing well for myself and trying to just contribute for the team and do what they need me to do.

"Every day, I learn something new out there. I’m always getting ideas from [Hernandez] and Dax. When [McCarty] watches me play, he’s always giving me ideas as [are] the coaches. It’s still a learning process for me. I feel like I’m still a rookie, but I’m adjusting better each game.”

Hartman Humbled by Player of Month Award

For all he has accomplished in his 14 seasons in MLS, Kevin Hartman has never earned a Player of the Month award. He can now add that accomplishment to his résumé.

“It’s really humbling to have never done something like that in 14 years and to earn it down here in Dallas,” Hartman said. “The guys have defensively been very sound. I think a lot of it comes down to the communication amongst all of us. We all hold each other accountable and guys work really hard for one another.

"It starts up top. You have guys that are making sure that they shape the ball the right way. At the end of the day, it’s an attribute to the number of goals we’ve conceded and to how good defensively we’ve been all year.”