It’s lineup juggling time for Schellas Hyndman already.
Depth will be a huge question mark for Hyndman’s FC Dallas squad when they host Portland on Saturday (8:30 pm ET; MLS Live). With multiple marquee names possibly being held out, the FCD head coach will have to make some key adjustments in order to keep his side unbeaten.
Perhaps the most important injury loss is forward Fabián Castillo. The teenage attacker injured his ankle in the first half Sunday against New York after dominating the first 30 minutes of action.
“He’s going to be listed as questionable,” Hyndman explained to MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “The thing about Fabián is he’s a really strong and fit player. He took a really good hit to the knee. It was really a needless type of contact that we were disappointed with. He didn’t even have the ball when he got hit. He could be out this game and maybe the next game or he could play this game. It really depends on how he feels. Right now, it’s just a strained knee.”
FCD may also be without unsung hero Ricardo Villar. Just after scoring the eventual game winner, the Brazilian playmaker hobbled off the field with what appeared to be a sprained ankle.
“We hope Ricardo can play,” Hyndman said. “Anything can happen. He had that injury going into the game. The situation is he just added to a previous injury he was recovering from. It’s not like it’s a new injury. We don’t want to get him in a situation where he’s playing injured or a new injury occurs.”
Hyndman is less optimistic about star midfielder David Ferreira making a return. The 2010 MLS MVP is still nursing an Achilles injury from preseason that prevented him from playing against New York, and has not fully recovered. Hyndman considers him "doubtful" against the Timbers.
To top things off, Dallas will be missing Brek Shea, who joined the US Under-23 team this week for the CONCACAF men’s Olympic qualifying tournament.
“Losing Brek is huge,” Hyndman said. “He makes everybody else play better. He’s very strong, quick and stretches the defense. He’s a huge factor to the success of our team. He’s a difference-maker.”
Hyndman admitted shuffling his lineup will be a tough task, but is happy players who don’t see an extended amount of playing time will get involved in the action. George John, Luis Perea and Andrew Wiedeman should all have expanded roles during the next couple of weeks, the coach explained.
“It’s going to be a challenge to replace these guys," Hyndman said. "Going into this week, this is probably where we were at mid-season last year. Next week, Carlos Rodríguez will join the Panama national team. It’s going to be a challenge for a while, but this is a wonderful opportunity for players that go unnoticed to step up and show their true value.”