FRISCO, Texas – It was a night of milestones for FC Dallas defender Kyle Davies last weekend night in Kansas City: his first start in almost six months, and his first full 90 in even longer.
Davies started the March 27 season-opener against Houston, but suffered a broken arm in the second half, missing most of the next two months.
He then worked his way back and saw his first game action on Sept. 11 against San Jose. But on Saturday night, he went until the final whistle, helping FC Dallas extend their unbeaten streak to a near-record 17 games.
“It’s been probably a year since I’ve played 90 minutes,” Davies said. “To get 90 minutes in was definitely a nice feeling. I feel good, obviously a little bit tired, but that’s to be expected.”
Davies filled in for George John, who has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury. Versatile Brazilian Jackson Gonçalves had been starting in John’s place, but FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman chose to start Jackson at holding mid with captain Daniel Hernandez still out with a pulled left hamstring.
That left an opening at center back, a vacancy he was more than happy to fill with Davies.
[inline_node:303825]“Kyle, I thought did a very good job,” Hyndman said. “We started him because we needed a center back that can win balls in the air, somebody with a little bit more of a body presence.
"We knew the field was small and the style of play we were going to see with Kansas City. He did a very good job marking, being physical and his distribution was really good.”
FCD goalkeeper Dario Sala, who is filling in between the posts while Kevin Hartman is out with a sprained right MCL, also liked what he saw.
“Fantastic," said Sala. "He was working really hard to come back and chase. He was working on getting his confidence back. That’s an essential thing for a defender, to build their confidence. He played some big boys and he battled on every single ball and won almost every one of them.”
Davies was paired with rookie Zach Loyd, who himself continues to fill in for Ugo Ihemelu since the center back suffered a concussion on Aug. 8. The two young defenders formed a solid partnership for FCD, who earned their first-ever win at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
“We spent a lot of time playing together earlier in the year, both being the reserve center backs, so it was comfortable going in and playing next to him,” Davies said of his partnership with Loyd. “He does a lot. Having Heath [Pearce] and Jair [Benitez] next to us, they help a lot and made me feel comfortable in there.”