FRISCO - Saturday night's 2-0 win over New England at Toyota Stadium brought a myriad of positives for Oscar Pareja's side who is now unbeaten in eight matches, but perhaps the best of all is the fact that Zach Loyd is back.
Just a day after turning 27, Loyd produced his best match of the season against the Revolution, marauding up and down the right flank in the comprehensive win.
"That’s the Zach Loyd that I know at his best. That’s the player that I knew and wanted last year to go to the club that I was coaching," Pareja said after the match. "At the beginning of this year, it took him a little while to get back to his level, but the Zach Loyd that I saw today was the one that was called to the national team. That’s the one that we want."
It's no coincidence that Loyd had the game that he did on Saturday night either. In truth, they've been planning for this all week. Exploiting the flanks was at the heart of FCD's tactics with Loyd and left back Moises Hernandez finishing the match first and third respectively in completed passes.
"I think both our fullbacks had their best games of the year and part of that is this week we trained hard specifically with our outside backs," Victor Ulloa said after the win. "We knew that they were going to play more of a diamond in the midfield and when Rowe and Fagundez came in it added space. It makes it tougher for us, but they had a great game."
For Loyd, the performance was the culmination of a long road back to full fitness. The Oklahoma native played through injury last season, missing eight of the final 11 games in 2013. The new year brought a new contract and renewed health for the ironman who has started the last 11 matches for FCD both at center back and right back.
"I think the break for us was really good. We had a tough two months there with game after game and finally getting back to full health and fitness," said Loyd. "The weather was nice and allowed me to run a little more and overall it’s just continuing to play and being healthy this year has been huge for me. Last year, I kept playing through injuries, so it’s nice to finally go into games feeling healthy, not thinking about my body just thinking about the game."