SAN JOSE, Calif. – FC Dallas are just days away from stepping back on the field to kick off their wild card match against either the Houston Dynamo or the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday.
Unfortunately for them, the only field that their best player, David Ferreira, will set foot upon on the same day is the training field.
As a matter of fact, according to head coach Schellas Hyndman, the only possibility of the reigning MLS MVP will making his return this year from a broken ankle injury suffered at Vancouver in April is if FC Dallas make a run for the MLS Cup. And even then, it might not be worth gambling the player's health.
“I talked to him a couple of days ago and he said he felt better, that he’s 60-65 percent,”Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com on Friday, the day before his team dropped a 4-2 decision at San Jose. “We were hoping to be able to get him on the field – he’d be a great addition to our team – but we’d have to go deep into the playoffs. And then we’re not sure if we want to risk re-injuring him."
It’s been a tough three-month stretch to end the season for FC Dallas, and now they’re really missing Ferreira’s presence on the pitch.
It may not have seemed like it at first. With Ferreira in the lineup, FCD went 2-3-1 to start the season. Since he’s been sidelined, the team has put together a more than respectable 13-9-6 record, clinched an early playoff spot, and finished with 52 points.
“The team was doing so well without him,” Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com. “I mean, we were on a great run – 52 points considering you’re without your best player.”
But FCD ran into a concrete wall at the beginning of August. They put together a measly 3-7-1 record in league play, kicked off with a 3-1 loss against the LA Galaxy. The wear and tear of waging war on three fronts took its toll the players, and the team fell out of the US Open Cup in the semifinals, crashed out of the CONCACAF Champions League after a promising start and faded fast in MLS.
“The one thing we really miss is [Ferreira’s] leadership,” said Hyndman. “He’s the glue that could always keep things together when things weren’t going well. ... It's easy for everyone to be happy when the team is doing well, there’s no problem. When the team’s not doing well, that’s the hardest coaching job in the world.
“The one thing David did is he always brought the guys together. He always demanded the best from them. He always held people accountable because he holds himself at such a high standard.”
With a home wild card match looming for FCD, it’ll be up to the players that can take the field to find a way to put it all back together.
But Hyndman is still holding out hope that something close to a miracle happens and his star player can come back to help the team.
“I’d be all ears if he came to me and said, ‘You know, I think I’m ready to play,’” he said.