FRISCO - Not only did Matt Hedges have one of his best defensive performances against New York City FC on Sunday night, but he did so with quite the battle wound.
Shortly after Kellyn Acosta put FC Dallas up 1-0 in the 20th minute, the goal scorer and the captain collided while going for a header on the same ball. Acosta was dinged up on the play, but Hedges was left leaking blood from a sizable gash between his eyes.
“That’s the captain of FC Dallas,” head coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “That single play shows what he’s growing into, you know, a man on the field. You got to see it close, it’s incredible. He went back and fought through and that’s a good example for our youngsters.”
“I love to play and I don't really care if I'm hurt or whatever, I just want to go out there,” Hedges said. “It was just how long it was going to take for them to get me back out there. There wasn't really any doubt.”
Hedges was subbed out of a match for the first time all season in the 85th minute, but helped Dallas shut down one of the most threatening attacks in MLS en route to its 14th straight unbeaten match at home.
“Matt is playing great this year,” Pareja added. “He’s thinking and getting to the next step. And that single play shows what he’s growing into, you know, a man on the field.”
“We have just been working a lot together as a back four and with the midfield for communication and chemistry,” the reigning MLS Defender of the Year said. “I just feel like everything has been clicking really well and it's helped us be one of the best defenses in the league.”