FRISCO, Texas — FC Dallas could get back the final piece of their playoff puzzle this weekend.
Kevin Hartman, who missed the last five games with a sprained right MCL, returned to training on Monday and could start on Saturday night at the Home Depot Center against one of his former clubs, the LA Galaxy.
“He looked good today,” FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman said on Monday. “He’s not taking full pressure kicks, goal kicks and those types of things. The concern is that since he’s been out, how many goals we’ve been giving up. That goes to show you the change.”
Hartman suffered the injury in an incident with Thierry Henry in a 2-2 draw with New York on Sept. 16. Before the injury, he was a strong candidate for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year with a 10-1-8 record, nine shutouts and a goals-against average of just 0.62.
WATCH: Hartman, Henry clash
Following the injury, backup Dario Sala has started the last five games, in which FCD has gone 2-2-1.
“I was excited to get back out there,” Hartman said. “I’m making sure guys are in the right place and communicating again. There’s a lot of stuff that takes getting used to again. All the movements felt OK. Obviously it’s been a long road back and not something that was easy.”
Hartman admits that if it had been up to him, he would have returned a game or two ago, but the seasoned 'keeper also understands that a player must be ready to take the pitch.
“I probably would have hurt my knee again on the first goal kick of the game,” Hartman said. “It’s not [a matter] of me telling them when I’m ready to play because I’m always ready to go.”
Starting against Los Angeles would definitely be special for Hartman, who was with the Galaxy from 1997 through 2006. In 1999, he was named the league’s top goalkeeper, and he helped LA win MLS Cup in both 2002 and 2005 before being traded to the Wizards in 2006.
“I was there from when I was 16 until I was probably 32, so I would say I’ve lived there a majority of my life,” he said. “There are a lot of people who have supported me through difficult times and my family’s there."
But all that aside, he also sees how important this game is for FCD to right the ship and get a win before heading into the postseason next weekend.
“It’s an opportunity to really try to get back on track in terms of how we want to be playing and the product that we want to have going into the playoffs and make sure that we’re playing confidently,” Hartman said. “We want to make sure we have the right mix going into the most important games of this year.”