FRISCO - After nearly four months out with injury, it’s taken Kellyn Acosta some time to get back to full fitness as FC Dallas heads into the final two months of the regular season, but the 19-year-old finally made his first start since April 19th in FCD’s 1-0 loss at Chicago last Saturday.
However, if you were looking for him at his right back position where the Plano-native made his previous 17 starts, think again. Since returning to training from his injury, Oscar Pareja informed the Homegrown signing that he would be training at central midfield and sure enough, Acosta started next to fellow Homegrown Victor Ulloa in the middle of the park on Saturday night in the Windy City.
“It was very different. I’m comfortable playing there though I haven’t been in a while since Dallas Cup with the [U-20] national team,” Acosta said after training. “At that level, it’s great experience for me. It was challenging for us because they had a lot of guys in the middle and it was hard for us to cover all of them in the area which made the game a little bit open, but I thought it was good to get some minutes there.”
For those who have only seen the young prodigy since joining the first team, a move from right back to central midfield might be a surprise, but for those who have followed him for years it’s no surprise at all. At younger levels, Acosta was the midfield fulcrum in both the US U-20 National Team and the FC Dallas Academy finding plenty of success with the position, though it certainly holds a lot more responsibility than at right back.
“It’s more difficult because you’ve got guys in all areas so you’ve got to cover a lot of ground more than at right back where I stay on the wing and force players outside,” said Acosta. “It’s a lot easier positioning [at right back], but in the midfield there’s a guy coming from the left, from behind, you’ve got to step up so it’s pretty challenging.”
The focus for Acosta and FCD now shifts to Saturday’s showdown with Western Conference rival Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium just two weeks after their emotional 2-1 win over Jeff Cassar’s side.
“They‘re going to try and get revenge from last game and we’re going to go out there giving it our all to get the three valuable points we need to move up the table,” said Acosta. “RSL’s a great opponent and we know them very well, so we need to attack their weaknesses and strengthen ourselves.”