LOS ANGELES - It’s been a minute since FC Dallas midfielder Kellyn Acosta has registered meaningful minutes in a match that counts. That’s why when he subbed in for Michael Barrios in the 61st minute of FC Dallas’ 1-1 draw with LAFC Saturday at Banc of California Stadium, it meant something.
“Definitely excited,” Acosta beamed in the locker room after the match. “(It) sucks being sidelined but I’m happy to get back on the field. Most importantly, we got a tough result.”
Acosta has been sidelined since February 22 after having surgery to repair a sports hernia. Acosta logged 29 minutes and admits he’s shaking off the rust that comes from being out of game action.
“I’m just trying to get more acclimated to the game,” he conceded. “Every game is different but just kind of getting in game speed, the tempo, the team chemistry. All that goes hand in hand. Having more games, I think I’ll get more comfortable and more consistent.”
FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja was pleased with what he saw from the 22-year old.
“Kellyn came out well,” Pareja asserted. “We’re were still tentative today to put him in the lineup. But when he came in, his range, the maneuver with the ball, the presence helped us a lot. Happy to see Kellyn again with us. I think he was one of the positives today.”
Call it an obvious sports point but no player like being sidelined. Perhaps in a show of growing maturity, though, Acosta admits that being able to watch, learn and analyze FC Dallas matches early this season was an opportunity that could potentially benefit him in the long run.
“Mentally, it helped me become stronger,” said Acosta. “Physically, I’ve been hitting the gym and doing all that stuff people don’t really see on the field. I think using that experience helped me view the team, see what areas I can improve on.”
“I know what I need to do to be a difference-maker for my teammates and how I can help. Being sidelined was a blessing in disguise, in a sense. But now I’m back healthy, trying to keep getting incorporated in the team and hopefully I can get more minutes.”