FRISCO, Texas — Aside from the international friendly against Tigres UANL last Saturday, the last time Zach Loyd stepped onto the field with his teammates was Aug. 20 against the Seattle Sounders at Pizza Hut Park.
Since leaving that league game not a half-hour into the match, Loyd has missed the team’s epic CONCACAF Champions League trip to Toronto, their 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Sporting Kansas City and the 1-0 US Open Cup defeat to Seattle at the Starfire Sports Complex.
So excuse him if he’s happy to rejoin the team on their road trip to New England where they’ll play the Revolution Saturday night at Gillette Stadium (7:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
“It’s great to be back with the guys, we are like a family,” Loyd said after Thursday’s training on the artificial turf field at the Pizza Hut Park complex. “I was missing them. I sent them a tweet telling them I was missing them and so yeah, it’s great to be back with the guys.”
Loyd suffered a hamstring injury against the Sounders and it appeared to be the straw that broke the camel’s back after collecting various nagging injuries since FC Dallas’ grueling July and August tournament-packed schedule.
That injury also forced Loyd and FCD to turn down an invitation from US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to join the national team for camp ahead of friendlies against Costa Rica and Belgium.
“[FCD coach Schellas Hyndman and I] sat down and we talked about going to the national team camp and then taking off,” said Loyd, “and we both decided that it was a better decision to stay here, recover, and get ready for the final push of our season. As disappointing as it is that I couldn’t represent our country, I think in hindsight it was a good decision.”
To reaffirm his faith in the University of North Carolina product after hearing of his leg injury, Klinsmann called Loyd saying that he only wanted the player in camp 100 percent healthy, and that they still see him as part of the national team picture.
“It wouldn’t have given me a fair look and I was just [grateful] that he would reach out, call me, and communicate with me like that,” Loyd added. “I was very appreciative of him calling me and hopefully I get called back in the near future.”
While he turned down the national team call-up and missed the team’s cross-country travels, Loyd worked with FC Dallas trainers each day to recover and find the form that makes him one of the league’s top fullbacks.
And according to Hyndman, Loyd’s recent form in training and against Tigres last Saturday have him in top shape heading into the team’s final seven league games.
“I think he’s as close to 100 percent as he was in preseason,” said Hyndman. “It was just so nice to see him have lively legs, sprinting ability and recovery, so I think it’s kind of a godsend that we were able to keep him out.”
Robert Casner covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached on Twitter: @robertmcasner