FRISCO, Texas – Four hundred and thirty-eight days.
That’s how long it will have been when David Ferreira – potentially, it should be said – puts on an FC Dallas jersey on July 4 for his first MLS match more than a year after breaking his ankle in Vancouver on April 23, 2011.
He’s almost become a larger-than-life figure that people talk about when reminiscing about the club's past. However, the future is very much ahead of Ferreira, and you can hear the excitement in his teammates’ voices when they talk about the Colombian’s return.
It’s a sign of just how long he’s been sidelined that only a handful are left who have seen firsthand the 2010 MLS MVP at the top of his game.
“More than anything, I’m just happy for him to hopefully get his opportunity to get back on the field,” said veteran Daniel Hernandez. “I know it’s been a rough 15 months for him, but I think, more importantly, having him back healthy is the most important thing.”
Indeed, it has been a rough 15 months of near returns, injury complications and just about anything else you can imagine popping up to keep Ferreira off the field. But with a full return to training this week, the time is rapidly approaching for “El Torito” to step back onto the MLS stage.
Now, it’s just up to head coach Schellas Hyndman and his training staff to determine how quickly to ease him back into the lineup.
“I think it’s not fair because I saw David when he was 100 percent,” Hyndman said on Friday. “Just because he’s playing or he’s on the bench doesn’t mean he’s 100 percent, so I think right now he’s probably 65 percent and hopefully we can say each week there’s another 5 percent increase.”
Still, a 65 percent fit Ferreira is better than a lot of attacking talent at full strength, and with an offense as anemic as Dallas’ has been this year, a dynamic playmaker could be the spark that pushes the team back into the playoff race.
Brek Shea, the most tenured player on the FC Dallas roster, can certainly identify with that sentiment. Shea’s breakout season may have come in 2011 with Ferreira on the sidelines, but that doesn’t mean the young attacker doesn’t understand just how important the Colombian is to the cause.
“He’s our quarterback on the soccer field,” Shea said.