FRISCO, Texas — Matt Hedges had an interesting May.
He got his first start of his MLS career on May 9 against Seattle and wound up starting four of the last five matches for FC Dallas.
He scored two goals, one apiece against Chicago and Real Salt Lake.
It’s a pretty good start for any rookie, especially a defender. But the center back’s personal growth came at a time when FC Dallas was in the midst of a month and a half-long winless streak.
“You’ve got to try and separate them,” Hedges said of his opportunities compared to the team’s struggle. “You’ve got to do your best to get better and at the same time you have to work hard for the team and do your job.”
It’s that kind of work ethic that has made Hedges one of the few bright spots recently and someone coach Schellas Hyndman can lean on as the team resumes MLS play this Saturday against rival Houston Dynamo (6:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2).
“Fantastic, it couldn’t have been better,” Hyndman said of Hedges’ play. “We’re getting a lot out of him.”
Hedges has nine match appearances in FC Dallas’ first 15 games. In his four starts he’s played the entire 90 minutes.
Hedges credits two teammates – Ugo Ihemelu and George John – for his growth as a MLS player.
“They’re both fantastic center backs and to be next to them every minute of the day, you’re learning something,” Hedges said.
Hedges said the two defenders have helped him improve his on-field communication and where best to position himself on the field. He also credits them for helping him develop a good mentality of how to play, work hard and limit mistakes.
Hyndman said the best way to ensure Hedges’ continued improvement is to make sure he stays levelheaded and focused.
“We have great expectations,” Hyndman said.