FRISCO, Texas – In a perfect world, Schellas Hyndman wouldn’t have to start two rookies at center back. But lately, he really hasn’t had much of a choice.
But with Ugo Ihemlu and George John both likely out with injury ahead of FCD’s match against New England on Wednesday, he has options. Enter Zach Loyd and Jackson Gonçalves, who have filled in admirably as the Hoops continue their 15-game unbeaten streak into another crucial late-season matchup, this time against the Revs.
“It’s a great experience, starting the position with Zach,” Jackson said through an interpreter. “Hopefully it’s going to keep getting better and better.”
Loyd agrees, but admits the language barrier between him and his Brazilian teammate has required them to make some adjustments.
“It’s fairly new but every training session, we have someone helping us communicate because we don’t both speak the same language,” the rookie defender said. “Bruno [Guarda] has been doing a really good job helping us, and also coach Schellas. We do a lot of hand signals to keep us on the same page. So far, it’s been working out really well.”
[inline_node:318168]Jackson has played in six games, including three starts, since joining FCD in late July. He has shown his versatility, seeing time at center back, right back, holding mid and right mid. After several games, the Brazilian has adjusted nicely to playing in the middle for his new side.
“I’ve adapted to that position," Jackson said. "I’ve been talking to Ugo, George and [Daniel Hernandez] to make sure everything is going to be fine in the game."
In their first two starts together, this rookie duo has had captain Hernandez in front of them to direct traffic. Hernandez is out with a pulled left hamstring and won’t play on Wednesday, which will be an adjustment for this tandem.
“It’s going to be a little different because I adapted to Daniel," Jackson said. "Now, the player that is going to come in is going to have to do the same job and be in the same shape we’ve been in."
“It’s definitely going to be another new challenge for our team,” Loyd said. “We’ve had a bunch come up this year. I think the main thing that is going to hurt us with missing Daniel is his leadership. He’s definitely a guy that pulls us together as a unit. I’m confident Jackson and I can work together and come out with three points this week.”
FCD will also miss the services of veteran goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, out with a knee injury for at least two more weeks. Dario Sala – the Hoops’ starter at the beginning of the season – will take his place.
“It’s just going to be a different scenario because Kevin and I are comfortable with each other,” Loyd said. “Now, Darío’s coming in. He’s a really confident goalkeeper and is very vocal. I think we’re still going to be well organized with him back there just moving us around.”