FCD Notebook: "Cage fighter" John returns to practice

George John

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FRISCO, Texas – George John played it coy on Wednesday when asked about the status of his twisted ankle on his first practice since suffering the injury 11 days ago against Vancouver.

“It’s questionable,” he said, giving a little bit more when prodded. “The ankle feels better from last week, making progress.”

His coach Schellas Hyndman blew the cover, however, indicating that the 6-3 defender should be ready to go for Sunday’s match at Chivas USA.

“He’s probably 90 percent,” FC Dallas' head coach told MLSsoccer.com “We got him out today and got him going. We’ve got three games left and we don’t want to leave anybody getting healthy for December. He’ll be fine.”

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John’s physical presence was sorely missed by FCD in their 3-3 draw with San Jose this past Saturday, with Matt Hedges' center back partner Hernán Pertúz more of a finesse defender than a bruiser to go against the Quakes forward trio.

“For Hernán, it was a little bit more physical than he wanted it to be, but I thought he did fine,” Hyndman said. “With George there, he takes one player and if the guy wants to be a cage fighter, George will cage fight with him.”

Blas doubles up

Panamanian forward Blas Pérez became the first FC Dallas player to score two goals in a game this season with his first- and second-half goals at Buck Shaw Stadium. His strikes were exactly the style FC Dallas must have imagined when they signed him in early January.

“I’m happy, because as a striker when you score you gain confidence,” Pérez said through a translator. “To score two goals is always good, but unfortunately what we were fighting for was three points and we couldn’t get that.”

Having missed nearly three full months due to a foot injury suffered on international duty with Panama, Pérez says he’s almost back to full fitness with four games now under his belt since regaining his health. 

“Regarding the injury, I still have a little bit of discomfort but almost nothing, no pain,” the Panamanian said. “Physically, I feel that I’m at 90 percent and going on 100 percent. What I need to get more of is match fitness which, after two months without playing, affected me, but I’m getting better.”

Top headed to Spain

Having just returned to practice from his own ankle injury, Homegrown forward Jonathan Top is headed to Spain on Friday for US Under-20 national team camp, culminating with games against Canada, Scotland and Azerbaijan at the Marbella Cup. Top looks to be one of the main options at forward for head coach Tab Ramos as they head towards the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in February.

“It’s a good feeling to get called up again, because it’s been awhile since our last camp,” Top said on Wednesday. “I’m excited for this one. It’s a new opportunity for the team to get together and get better."