Dallas defender John happy to be back in starting lineup
FRISCO, Texas — Sunday marked the return of a familiar face on the FC Dallas first team. After watching the beginning of FCD’s first two games of the season from the bench, George John found his way back into the starting lineup and alongside Ugo Ihemelu in central defense in a tough 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City.
“Obviously, it felt good being out there at the starting whistle of a game and making it through all 90 minutes,” John told MLSsoccer.com on Monday. “Our team is going through some adjustments right now, missing Brek [Shea], Carlos [Rodríguez], David [Ferreira] and Fabián [Castillo], but it felt good to be out there with the starting 11. It was unfortunate we didn’t get a good result, but that’s how it goes sometimes.”
John has progressively been working his way back into the XI after missing all of preseason while on a two-month loan stint at West Ham United. He did not arrive back in Dallas until March 2, and by that time, head coach Schellas Hyndman felt comfortable going with newcomer Hernán Pertúz as his starter.
Behind the Colombian on the depth chart, John played five minutes in the season opener and 44 minutes against Portland last week. But aginst Sporting, Pertúz was needed at left back, opening up John’s old spot in the center of defense.
John admitted he felt a little “rusty” against KC and says he will improve as he gets himself situated again at the position where he made 31 starts last season.
“I always think I can do better," he said. "[Sunday] was one of those occasions. I haven’t had a lot of time with the backline. I’ve played with Ugo for the last two years now, but you still need that base to build off of, and I wasn’t here during preseason. I came back and understood my place on the team. Hopefully, it’ll come back sooner rather than later.”
John isn't sure if he will start again at D.C. United on Friday (7:30 pm ET, NBC Sports Network), but is looking forward to helping the team get back to its winning ways.
“Those decisions are up to the coaches," he said. "I’m just here working my best and trying to get back in it. The most important thing is that we win games. I know D.C. has a strong lineup. I know the coaches will put together a great game plan for us. We’ll be prepared for them.”