FRISCO, Texas – Scott Gordon is still just a trialist at this point, but he’s no stranger to FC Dallas.
The 23-year-old defender is back to push for a place after spending more than two months training with the team last preseason, fighting for a final roster spot. Despite appearing in the team’s final preseason tune-up on March 12, the 53rd overall pick in the 2011 SuperDraft came up just short.
“It was definitely tough,” Gordon (pictured above, right) told MLSsoccer.com on Monday. “I was here for two months, but I understand how it works.”
Reflecting back on the 2011 preseason, manager Schellas Hyndman admits that Gordon was impressive during his time with the club. In fact, his fate may have been sealed not by his on-field performance but by team events outside of his control.
“Last year, we had an injury to Eddie Edwards that kind of locked in our roster spot, or we probably would have been very close to signing him,” said Hyndman.
Following his release from the club in March, Gordon signed with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the NASL. He made his debut on April 29, recording his first goal in a 2-2 draw in Puerto Rico. The 6-foot-4 defender cherished the opportunity to gain game experience at the professional level, especially near his hometown of Boca Raton, Fla.
“It was a great team down there, and it was nice to be around my friends and family,” Gordon said. “I got a lot of games that I probably wouldn’t have gotten here – some experience under my belt. I got used to the speed of play, worked on my technical abilities and one-touch stuff. In general, my game and knowledge of the game really improved.”
Improved or not, Gordon joins an FC Dallas team that has already added a trio of young defenders this offseason. Still, Hyndman saw enough of Gordon last season to warrant a second audition for the club.
“Scott brings very, very good athleticism,” Hyndman said. “He’s got good size, a great engine and a great vertical leap. He was an all-state player in high school doing football, track and soccer. That just tells you, in the state of Florida, that he’s pretty special.”
Though Gordon worked primarily at center back last preseason, the team has moved him to right back this year, a position in which Gordon feels comfortable. Having the flexibility to add depth at both positions won’t hurt his chances this time around, either.
“He’s been great. He’s everything that we remember,” said Hyndman. “The thing is, we’ve really made a real commitment to making our defense better, depth wise. Getting Hernán Pertúz, Carlos Rodríguez and then picking up Matt Hedges in the draft, that’s three more guys. We’d probably like to get one more player.”
And while he knows it won’t be easy to prove himself to the coaching staff and make the squad, Gordon feels comfortable with the fact that he has performed at a higher level this preseason. With one opening remaining, he's not giving up.
“I don’t hold any grudges or anything, obviously,” Gordon said. “I’ve just got to work that much harder this year so it doesn’t happen again.”