When FC Dallas take the field against Montreal this Saturday (8:30 pm, watch LIVE online), Ricardo Villar won’t be with them.
Against New England last week, Villar went down in the second half after a reckless tackle by Shalrie Joseph. The New England man saw himself suspended for a week by the league’s Disciplinary Committee, while the FC Dallas playmaker has been diagnosed with a sprained ankle.
“As far as Ricardo Villar, I think he’ll be out for at least another week,” FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com “He took a really nasty tackle. It was a rolling of the ankle so it was a sprain. We’re sure nothing is broken. He’ll definitely miss this game, and we’ll see how he progresses for the next.”
Villar, who has battled through various injuries since preseason, had stepped up this year as a key contributor in the midfield. Replacing him has turned into something of a project.
Jackson is due back from his loan to Brazilian first division side Cruzeiro, but won’t be available just yet. Daniel Hernandez and Jair Benitez will be, though neither have Villar’s playmaking chops.
Still, there’s strength in numbers. Add in George John’s return to health, and Hyndman will have close to his starting XI.
“One advantage that we have is we’ll have Daniel Hernandez back. We went without him against him against New England,” Hyndman said. “We’ll also have Jair Benitez back. They both are long time starters and add strength to this team.”
Dallas will need those two savvy veterans to get back in a groove rather quickly. Montreal are riding a wave of momentum to Dallas after their first-ever win, 2-1 over Toronto FC last weekend.
“Montreal coming off that first win will be very hungry to pick up their first win on the road,” Hyndman said. “They’re hard working. They lead the league in fouls with, I think, 95. That shows you that they’re very physical.”
How Dallas handle that physicality – especially considering the number of injuries they’ve already sustained this season – could go a long way toward determining their success.
“Obviously, being at home gives us a little bit of an advantage. I think we need to move the ball early,” Hyndman said. “If we don’t move the ball early, we’ll get into a physical battle and we really don’t want that.”