FRISCO, Texas – Despite their recent three-game dry spell, FC Dallas have done far better than most have expected over the past five months without David Ferreira in the lineup.
And though head coach Schellas Hyndman has asked for more from Ricardo Villar, who is currently occupying the No. 10 spot normally manned by Ferreira, he isn’t forcing the 2010 MLS MVP back onto the pitch until he’s absolutely ready.
With that in mind, Hyndman has scaled back his earlier hopes that Ferreira could return before the end of the regular season.
“The communication with David right now is, ‘You’re looking better, how are you feeling?’” Hyndman explained. “But there is nothing like, ‘Hey, when do you think you will be ready?’ I’ve never asked that question. I’m waiting for David to basically let the trainers know or the Michael Johnson [Performance Center] people know that, ‘Hey, I think I’m ready to go out and kick a ball now.’”
Nowadays, Ferreira – who has largely been unavailable to media during his rehabilitation – spends his morning sessions passing the ball with trainers, moving in different directions and running around the pitch while teammates regularly give him words of encouragement.
The Colombian veteran has regained much of the muscle lost in the weeks after surgery to repair a double-fractured right ankle, but Hyndman isn’t ready to throw Ferreira in the mix yet.
“This running is fine, but nobody is really clipping at your ankles or double-legging tackling you or anything else,” the FCD coach said. “So this is a great, normal progression.”
But contrary to statements made earlier in August that Ferreira could return for a league game or two before the playoffs, Hyndman isn’t certain about Ferreira’s return before the MLS Cup playoffs begin late next month.
“I don’t know,” he said calmly. “It’s interesting; when he was injured, the first prognosis [was that] he will be out for three months, and then we started talking to sports people and [found out] he’ll be out at least five to six months. Now it’s like, do you really want to risk it for a reoccurring injury? Or do you give him November, December, January and February to come back at his best? So those will be decisions to make as time goes on.”
When he is ready to go, however, Hyndman added that Ferreira – who had eight goals and 13 assists during the 2010 campaign – may not come back in a starting role as to avoid disrupting the current team chemistry, but perhaps as a bench player or merely as a talisman.
“If our season is extended because of playoffs and he’s capable of coming back and contributing, absolutely,” Hyndman said.
Robert Casner covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com.