FRISCO, Texas — After admitting that he may be done for the rest of the season, FC Dallas' Milton Rodríguez might play in MLS Cup after all.
FC Dallas have been without Rodriguez since the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinal against Real Salt Lake back on Oct. 23. That was when the 34-year-old Colombian suffered a strained right groin and had to leave in the first half of the 2-1 win at Pizza Hut Park.
Later that week, Rodríguez was asked about his injury and sheepishly said he doubted he'd return. However, when asked about his veteran forward’s status after Wednesday’s training, FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman played a different tune.
“Surprisingly, Milton’s made some great recoveries,” Hyndman said. “I think the trainers and doctors have really been surprised with how he’s done. He could very well make that top 18 this weekend.”
If Rodríguez is indeed available, it will make for an interesting dilemma for Hyndman. Does he start the Colombian, who could be a bit rusty after missing the last few playoff games? Or does he start Atiba Harris once again? Or perhaps go with veteran Jeff Cunningham? Hyndman definitely has plenty of options.
But the news isn’t so favorable when it comes to right back Heath Pearce, who continues to battle a hamstring injury.
“I haven’t got the report on him yet,” Hyndman said. "It’s a little bit more different when you’ve got an injury on a hamstring because at some point in time, you have to open up and [run]. He hasn’t shown us that he can do that yet."
Hyndman humbled by Arena’s words
After FCD beat the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-0 at the Home Depot Center in the Western Conference Championship to clinch their first-ever trip to MLS Cup, Bruce Arena said that his Galaxy side had been outplayed by Dallas and that he had also been outcoached by Hyndman.
The FCD gaffer considers those kind words a huge honor.
“First of all, that’s quite a statement for any coach to make to another coach," Hyndman said. "When you get a statement like that from one of the greatest coaches in the history of US soccer, it’s obviously very humbling, very well received on my part and very appreciated."
Rapids solid defensively
Since his club has already faced Colorado twice this year, the Rapids are a foe Hyndman and his team is more than a little familiar with. The FCD gaffer continues to be very impressed by Colorado's back line and solid midfielders.
“The defense [is solid] with Marvell [Wynne] in the center, a tremendous athlete who could be one of the best athletes in the league," Hyndman said. "Drew Moor is a very good defender and could be in the top 11.
“On the left side, [Anthony Wallace] knows us very well. We helped Colorado quite a bit by trading him there because that was a need they were desperate to get. He’s played with a lot of confidence and is starting for them. He’s a very good player and it was very difficult to trade him.”
But the respect doesn’t end there.
“[Kosuke] Kimura is an unbelievable player as far as activities, hard work, determination," he continued. "I think that defense is very hard. What makes their team so successful is their two midfielders in [Pablo] Mastroeni and [Jeff] Larentowicz. Those two are very good in holding the central midfield.”
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