FRISCO, Texas — For the first time in more than a month, FC Dallas enjoyed a week without a midweek tilt, enabling players to find their legs as the stretch run of the season begins Saturday against the Philadelphia Union (8 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
The match will mark not only the first time FC Dallas set foot on the pitch at PPL Park, but also the reappearance of former Union midfielder Andrew Jacobson, who is set to return for FCD after suffering a right hamstring injury on July 9.
“I met with some doctors and they’ve cleared me, so I’m good to go,” Jacobson said after training on Thursday. “I think playing against my former team I’ll probably have a little bit extra in the tank.”
The journey back to health hasn’t been an easy one for Jacobson, who has only played briefly as a second half substitute since the injury. He suffered through an ACL surgery and broken foot earlier in his professional career but the hamstring posed another set of problems for the 25-year-old.
“Since it was my first one, I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to be feeling and how I was supposed to push myself,” he admitted. “It was a bit of a learning experience but — knock on wood — it’s my last one.”
Jacobson — who also acknowledged not having any hard feelings toward his former side — had a message for his teammates about what they might experience from the boisterous Sons of Ben supporters group and a Union side who are 5-1-5 at home in 2011.
“It’s not as loud as Seattle or Portland or anything like that, but they stand behind their team,” Jacobson stated. “They are a good team at home so we are going to need to be on our game.”
Also traveling with Dallas to the Eastern seaboard is Brazilian midfielder Jackson, who suffered a deep ankle bruise after a hard tackle during CONCACAF Champions League play and missed the game at LA last weekend.
Shea, Loyd, Chávez meet team in Philly
Missing from the Pizza Hut Park grounds this week were Brek Shea, Zach Loyd and Marvin Chávez, as they suited up for their respective national teams Wednesday night on the FIFA international fixture date.
Shea and Loyd remained in Philadelphia following the US national team’s 1-1 draw with Mexico, while technical director Barry Gorman picked up Honduran Chávez from Philadelphia International Airport on Thursday evening. Head coach Schellas Hyndman spoke about the situation and his brief communication with Shea after he recorded his first assist with the Red, White and Blue.
“We’ve asked them just to stay out there,” said Hyndman. “I texted Brek and told him that we are all proud of him, great job and take a few days off and relax. Even though Zach didn’t play, he’s the type of guy you never have to worry about.”
Shea’s assist made for a successful first impression under new US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, according to Hyndman.
“It’s crucial because it gives the coach the ability to say, ‘I can count on this guy,’" said Hyndman, "and they can now start to focus on other players at other positions.”
Robert Casner covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached on Twitter: @robertmcasner