Kellyn Acosta - FC Dallas - May 14, 2017

Two of FC Dallas’ biggest names are nearing returns to full health, as manager Oscar Pareja told on Tuesday that midfielder Kellyn Acosta and goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez have both returned to training.

Acosta underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia on Feb. 22 and has yet to play this year. Gonzalez started both legs of Dallas' Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 loss to Tauro in February, but hasn’t yet made an appearance in MLS action. He missed the first three games of the season due to an ankle injury, made the 18 for Dallas’ 1-1 draw against Colorado on April 7, then missed the club’s last two matches due to a sprained finger. 

Pareja said both participated in an intra-squad scrimmage on Tuesday morning for players that weren’t active or didn’t log heavy minutes in Dallas’ 2-0 win against Philadelphia on Saturday, with Acosta going “almost 70 minutes” in the exercise.

According to Pareja, it’s possible that Acosta will be in the 18 when Dallas play at New York City FC on Sunday (6:30 pm ET | Full TV & streaming Info). While Acosta may be available this weekend, Pareja doesn’t feel any need to rush the 22-year-old US international back into the XI thanks to the solid form of central midfielders Jacori Hayes and Victor Ulloa.

“He’s doing great, he’s doing great, he was part of the exercise today and I can see he’s progressing,” Pareja said of Acosta. “His injury took more time obviously, but the response from Kellyn has been great. I can see already that he’s getting into his own rhythm – it’s good, he’s coming along.”

It may take Gonzalez more time to get back on the field. Jimmy Maurer has been excellent in his stead, anchoring Dallas’ league-best defense by conceding just three goals in six MLS starts. Pareja praised Maurer on Tuesday and noted Gonzalez will have to compete to regain his starting role.

“Jesse’s doing it, he’s trying to catch up with his rhythm, with his fitness and with everything,” Pareja said. “We will see during the week. Overall what he needs to do, it’s like any other player, just keep working and keep trying to find his best performances during training.”