First-place FC Dallas finding it hard to get Kenny Cooper, Blas Perez on field at same time
FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas are out to their best start as a franchise in part thanks to a balanced attack that has seen seven different players score the team’s eight goals.
Only two of those goals, however, have come from the much-heralded strike trio: one each from Kenny Cooper and Blas Pérez, and none yet from Eric Hassli, who has yet to see more than late-game mop-up work.
That doesn’t bother FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman in the least.
“We’re creating opportunities,” he told MLSsoccer.com after Thursday’s training. “I think it is something that the rest of the league should worry about that we have goalscorers, we’re creating opportunities and we have a lot of different weapons coming at them.”
That may mean that a “twin towers” front line that many had hoped to see after FCD acquired Cooper and Hassli this offseason may have to wait. In fact, a strike pairing involving any of the trio has only been on the field together for 105 minutes, and the majority of that was with Pérez as the lone target forward and Cooper at right mid in a 4-5-1 against the Houston Dynamo last month.
“We’d like to get them out there, but the issue we’re running into is the midfield,” said Hyndman. “The defense is fine, the goalkeeping is fine, but once you go with two forwards, it affects the midfield. Jackson is an attacking player. Fabián [Castillo] is an attacking player.
“So you’re going to have to take somebody off – either Michel or Andrew Jacobson, because you’re going to keep David Ferreira on – so you’ll only have one ball winner in the middle and we know in this league, that’s not enough.”
So who sits? Hassli has yet to start a game for FCD since being acquired from Toronto in February as he has been behind on fitness. And although Cooper was the lone forward last week at New England, Pérez ended up scoring the late game-winner as a second-half substitute after returning from international duty.
Don’t expect to see the Panamanian star in a super-sub role again in Toronto on Saturday (4 pm ET, TSN in Canada, MLS Live in US).
“Right now, Blas is our leading scorer from last year, he’s in great form, he’s playing with Panama at the international level,” Hyndman said, “so I don’t think it does a lot for him to be coming off the bench.”