It's not too often that a team losing players to the U-20 World Cup presents selection headaches on the MLS front, but FC Dallas faced that challenge with three players -- Paxton Pomykal, Edwin Cerrillo, and Brandon Servania -- featuring for the US national team in Poland.
The Americans reached the quarterfinal round, defeating France before falling to eventual third-place side Ecuador, and with the tournament in the books, Dallas were clearly happy to see their young stars return.
All three players started in a 3-0 win at Toyota Stadium over Toronto FC on Saturday, and FCD head coach Luchi Gonzalez said that even though they all also featured in the team's U.S. Open Cup loss midweek against New Mexico United, getting them back into a rhythm on the club level was essential.
"These were the three center mids we felt were ready to do it and they had a really synchronized performance tonight," Gonzalez said. "Not perfect. But very coordinated and synchronized both defensively and offensively. It's great for now and the future."
If the trio were the midfield engine, it helped propel the attack, led by a brace from Dominique Badji and two assists from fellow youngster Jesus Ferreira. Pomykal also chipped in with an assist. Gonzalez insisted that his players had earned the chance to play, regardless of their age.
"This is not charity for the young players. This is what they're fighting for and they're earning it whether they're a young player or a veteran player," he said.
With Pomykal, Cerrillo and Servania combining for 19 league appearances so far this season, Gonzalez has shown he trusts the players and expects them to continue playing an important role.
"It's good having some of those young guys back from the U-20s, and integrating them last week was important. They showed a lot of courage on the field and personality despite their age. So very proud and we have to be ready for Wednesday's opportunity against Vancouver," Gonzalez said. "That's a game we want very bad considering what happened in Vancouver where we did a lot of good things but didn't win."