Two steps forward and one step back.
Sunday marked the return of Panamanian forward Blas Pérez to the field for FC Dallas after 12 games out with a foot injury, but it wasn’t in the manner that FCD would’ve preferred.
Fabián Castillo, the 20-year-old Colombian Designated Player, was in the best form of his MLS career heading into Sunday’s game with goals in his last three games. But the winger was forced off after 41 minutes due to a leg injury picked up in a collision with Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
On came Pérez late in the first half, earlier than Dallas had planned for, moving starting forward Jackson to right midfield.
“I had talked to Blas yesterday and told him, 'Could you give me 25-30 minutes?'” Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the match. “With Fabián getting hurt so early, it forced us to go to him sooner.”
It was a double whammy for FCD, having to bring their only forward on the substitute bench on before halftime while losing the speed and unpredictability of the in-form Castillo.
“They had no answers for Fabián,” Hyndman said. “He was hurting them quite a bit with his speed and penetration. Unfortunately when he got hurt, it was a great through ball from David and he and Saunders collided and he strained his leg a little bit.”
The full extent of Castillo’s injury won’t be known until FC Dallas return to the training pitch Wednesday morning, though things are not thought to be serious.
Pérez did his typical hard work at forward for FCD, but the rust was apparent to everyone watching. The Panamanian managed one shot on goal while drawing three fouls, but was unable to find an equalizer especially as his fitness waned in the closing minutes of the match.
“Blas is always giving you his best, that’s the thing we really like about him,” Hyndman said after the game. “On both sides of the ball, he’s great he’s a fighter, but you get to the point where you’re tired with that final touch to get that shot off.”
Without Castillo, Dallas struggled to create any opportunities to test a comfortable Galaxy backline and the status of their young Colombian will be something to which Hyndman & Co. will be paying close attention as their crucial matchup against Seattle looms on Sunday evening.