FRISCO, Texas – As FC Dallas prepare for their Saturday match against the San Jose Earthquakes at Toyota Stadium (8:30 pm ET; Univision Deportes), the return to form of veteran players has been key to changing the fortunes of a team that started the season strong but seen injuries, suspensions and the schedule throw cold water onto the results since.
With injuries decimating the club’s defense and holding midfield positions, requiring the team to start a number of young players, the play of veterans Zach Loyd and Adam Moffat in the past few games has helped give FC Dallas extra confidence that their fortunes are headed in the right direction.
“Zach is always going to be super steady,” said goalkeeper Chris Seitz, noting that the defender played a key role in last weekend’s scoreless draw against Real Salt Lake. “There were a couple of instances where he covered up on the weak side. That really helped us out.”
Loyd suffered an injury to his left knee late in 2013 that cost him a number of games, and it hampered his training to start the 2014 season. An injury to Homegrown player Kellyn Acosta pushed Loyd back into the starting lineup, probably a little sooner than expected.
“I felt like I played strong. I had a pretty substantial injury last year, and I’m finally getting back to where I’m full strength,” Loyd said.
Head coach Oscar Pareja had the same assessment.
“I’m seeing the one that I know, after all the problems that he had with his injuries, it seems like it is coming together for Zach,” Pareja said.
Central midfield is where the largest number of injuries have occurred, with Mauro Diaz, Hendry Thomas, Michel and Andrew Jacobsen all unavailable recently. This made Moffat’s return to the starting lineup so important.
“Adam brought up a lot of good things in the middle of the pitch in that game. He carried us during the game,” Pareja said. “I’m glad to see it.”
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Moffat, while new to FC Dallas this season, is a veteran of a number of MLS campaigns, including two MLS Cup appearances with in-state rival Houston Dynamo. A rugged midfielder, his presence lends a stability and confidence that has helped the club.
“He’s one of the guys we know is always going to be quality,” Seitz said. “He’s a veteran guy who we know is going to come in and work extremely hard.”
The veteran midfielder brings some perspective to the club in such challenging times.
“It’s encouraging,” Moffat said of last week’s draw in Utah. “I think we need to score some goals, obviously, and having a little bit more conviction in what we’re trying to do, that something special. We’re getting in some great spots on the field. It will come.”