FRISCO, Texas — With starting right midfielder Atiba Harris at less than 100 percent because of a foot cyst, FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman could go with rookie Jackson Gonçalves in his Starting XI on Saturday night against Real Salt Lake.
Jackson, a proven utility man for FCD, has played right mid, defensive mid, center back and his natural right-back position. Despite having started seven times, this would be his first on the right flank.
Though Hyndman says “it very well could be [Jackson out there on Saturday],” he’s got plenty of options, including Marvin Chavez and Brek Shea, and he hasn’t ruled out Harris yet.
Harris missed training on Tuesday but was back in the fold on Wednesday and Thursday, working with the second team for much of Thursday’s session.
“Quite honestly, I think Atiba has been carrying these knocks a little bit,” the coach said. “It’s affected his play a little bit, his performance and his mentality. As I said to Atiba, ‘Let’s get you healthy. Let’s get you 100 percent back.' It’s good to see him back out there [training].”
No Rust for Pearce, Shea
[inline_node:320741]Neither Heath Pearce nor midfielder Brek Shea showed any rust in Thursday’s training session, their first since starting for the United States national team in Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Colombia in Philadelphia.
“It was good to have both of those guys back in training,” Hyndman said. “It was a huge moment for both of them to be playing against Colombia and for Brek to get his first international game with the national team. It was fantastic.”
While Shea only saw one half against Colombia, Pearce played the full 90 for the Nats.
“My legs feel a little bit heavy, but that’s the way it goes,” Pearce said. “Two days after a game are when you feel the worst. On Saturday, I should be fine again.”
Injured Trio Showing Well in Training
Hyndman could have three starters back for Saturday’s clash: holding midfielder Daniel Hernandez and centerbacks Ugo Ihemelu and George John.
Hernandez has missed the last four games with a pulled right hamstring, Ihemelu has been out for 10 games after suffering a concussion and John started last week after missing five games with a left hamstring issue but had to leave at halftime after it tightened up.
[inline_node:314575]Except for showing some signs of rust, all three have looked solid so far this week, and Hyndman will be especially glad to have Ihemelu back.
“[Ihemelu] brings so much quality, especially when you go into a game with Real Salt Lake, who have [Robbie] Findley, who is one of the fastest players in the league, and [Álvaro] Saborío, who is scoring a lot of goals for them,” said Hyndman.
“Hopefully this week will continue to be another week of improvement and confidence building,” said the coach. “We’re throwing these guys right out into the deep end right now.”