Rick Yeatts

Eric Hassli nearing full fitness from back injury

FRISCO, Texas -- Eric Hassli came inches away from scoring his first FC Dallas goal in the team's match against the LA Galaxy Saturday night. And it would've been a memorable one, too.

The teams were tied, 0-0, with just three minutes to go in regulation when midfielder Michel took a corner kick for FCD. Hassli was first to the ball and his header beat Galaxy goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, but the shot caught the lower half of the crossbar and pinged back out into the penalty box.

Fortunately for FC Dallas, center back George John was able to head in the rebound to secure the win. Although Hassli would've liked to have gotten his first goal under his belt, as far as he's concerned, all's well that ends well.

"I don’t mind at all, as long as we finish the game with three points," Hassli said after training on Wednesday. "It just feels great to win the game."

Head coach Schellas Hyndman hopes the near-chance was a sign of what's still to come from the French forward. Hassli has progressively earned more minutes off the bench this season as he's been recovering from a back injury.

"We all know he is a very good player because of his history and all of the things he has done on his resume," Hyndman said. "We saw it in Vancouver, we saw it in Toronto, but we haven’t seen it for us and the big reason why is he was nursing a little bit of a back injury when he came in. I think if you ask him today, he’ll probably say that he is much improved and we hope we are getting him now at 85 percent."

When asked if Hassli is improving to the level of potentially challenging for a starting spot, Hyndman was certain with his answer.

"No doubt about it," said Hyndman. "The trick of it is keep him involved, keep him improving, getting him playing to his best and then getting him game time."

But no matter what forward lineup Hyndman chooses for any given game, Hassli knows the most important thing is that it's the best available lineup for the team.

"To have all these strikers is great for the team," said the big Frenchman. "At the end of the day, the coach will put the best team on the field and even if I don’t start, I'll push my teammates to score, to win - at the end of the day we just have to win."