FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas fans’ dream of seeing David Ferreira make a full return by First Kick was short-lived.
The FCD playmaker, who played a full 90 minutes in a preseason match during the Disney Pro Soccer Classic in Orlando, was officially ruled out on Friday by his manager Schellas Hyndman.
“He did not recover,” Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com in reference to the injuries Ferreira picked up in an exhibition against Orlando City. “It's the bone bruise and stiff ankle from the number of knocks he took. So instead of pushing him, since he’s feeling pain, we’re going to protect him. The doctor thinks he’s two to four weeks [away], so hopefully it’s short term.”
The automatic replacement for Ferreira in the lineup has usually been Ricardo Villar, but the former Penn State midfielder is also battling fitness issues after suffering from concussion symptoms during a practice session earlier in the week.
“Right now I’m expecting him to be available,” Hyndman said of Villar. “We’ll do more testing on him [Saturday].”
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That’s not the only lineup decision that Hyndman is facing. He indicated that he doesn’t “foresee Brek [Shea] going into the striker position unless we see opportunity to expose a weakness,” which means that Shea and Panamanian Carlos Rodríguez will battle it out for the left wing spot.
“That’s going to be the toughest decision,” Hyndman said, “because I’ve always felt that you want to put the best players on the field.”
As far as returning central defender George John is concerned, Hyndman is caught between two minds as to whether to reunite the established pairing of John and Ugo Ihemelu or to stick with impressive newcomer Hernán Pertúz, who replaced John as a starter while the Greek-American center back was on loan with English side West Ham United.
“That’s a touchy one because you know the quality of George John,” Hyndman said. “He’s one of the best center backs in league and hasn’t been here for full preseason, and you have a player who is not only improving and doing well but somebody the team likes and it’s almost like an injustice, like, 'Wait a minute, he worked here for six weeks and now we bring back somebody else and discard him?' That’s a tough one.”
The Red Bulls have lineup questions of their own with the absences of defender Wilman Conde (quad strain), midfielder Rafa Márquez (suspension) and forward Luke Rodgers (visa issues).
Some would argue it’s a great time to face a New York side that many feel have what it takes to win MLS Cup.
“There’s a whole bunch of excitement here,” Hyndman said. “Not just because it’s the season opener, it’s NBC [Sports Network] and the sellout crowd. And it’s six weeks of hard work to be put into one game. There is definitely an excitement and we hope it translates not only into a spring in our step, but in scoring goals as well.”
GET TICKETS to FC Dallas vs. New York Red Bulls, Sunday, March 11, 2012, 3 pm ET at FC Dallas Stadium. Watch it on NBC Sports.