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Thursday's game a celebration of 12 months back on the field for David Ferreira

The July 4th match is always one of the biggest of the year for FC Dallas as they play in front of a perennially-sold out crowd in Frisco, but this year’s Independence Day game surely holds special meaning for FCD captain David Ferreira.

Thursday’s game represents a year to the day that Ferreira made his return to the field against Toronto FC after over 14 months away from the field due to injury.

READ: FCD remains in MLS power rankings top five after draw in Philadelphia

“It was great to get him back July 4th of last year,” said head coach Schellas Hyndman. “When he came back, he really inspired the team to make a real run at getting into that last spot in the playoffs…I think the telling truth of how valuable David is to the team is to just look at our record when he’s on the field and look at our record when he’s not.”

Indeed, the numbers behind Ferreira’s last 12 months are staggering when you take into account that the 2010 MLS MVP could suffer such a tragic injury and return to the field more than a year later without missing a step. The Colombian’s 15 assists since July 4, 2012 represent the second-most among all MLS players behind only Landon Donovan(16) and this all while remaining the most fouled player in the league.

MATCH INFO: FC Dallas vs Chivas USA - July 4 celebration

“I think he’s as productive as before [the injury],” said head coach Schellas Hyndman. “I’d like to see him a little bit more dynamic going forward, but I also understand how difficult it is for him to find that space because people won’t let him in there.”

While a number as simple as assists can be propped up by the fact that Ferreira takes many of FCD’s set pieces, a look deeper into the OPTA stats shows that Ferreira remains one of the most offensively dangerous players in the league. Since July 4, only Federico Higuain and Javier Morales have more chances created from open play with the 33-year-old boasting 59 chances created from the run of play, not counting any of his pinpoint set pieces.

READ: FC Dallas Under-23 ECNL team headed to nationals after successful first season

As the mileage and fouls add up on Ferreira’s legs throughout the season, don’t be surprised to see Hyndman find creative ways to get the Colombian as much rest as possible before playoff time rolls around. Still, as you take your seat in the stadium on Thursday night, take a moment to pause and recognize the greatness of the FCD captain as we hit the one year mark since he returned to the field.