FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas forward Eric Hassli is itching to score his first goal of 2013, and what better place to do it than against his former team in Vancouver?
“If I can, oh my God, yes,” the former Whitecaps Designated Player told MLSsoccer.com. “I’m a striker, so I have to [score]. I’m really excited right now. It’s going to be really special to see all my old friends. I’m looking forward to it.”
Hassli has yet to start a match this season and has played a total of 61 minutes combined in his five appearances as a substitute. But that could change on Saturday when FC Dallas travel to Vancouver for the second leg of their back-to-back matches against the Whitecaps (6 pm ET, Univision Deportes).
“[Wednesday] was the best practice he’s had since he’s been with FC Dallas,” head coach Schellas Hyndman pointed out. “He really looked lively, he looks fit, he looks like he’s ready to go.”
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Hyndman went on to add: “Now, playing for Vancouver, the first team that brought him to the league, I think there’s a lot of friends there, there’s a lot of feelings there, I think there’s a lot of emotion there to go back. Maybe, and I don’t know, but maybe it’s, ‘I’m going to show you guys that you made a mistake that you didn’t keep me.' I hope he has his best game ever.”
This will mark the French forward’s first return to Vancouver since he was traded to Toronto FC last July. TFC then turned around and traded Hassli to Dallas in February in exchange for a conditional second-round draft pick in 2014.
In addition to seeing friends and former teammates, he is looking forward to visiting his favorite Italian restaurant Cioppio’s and playing in front of the Whitecaps fans.
If Hassli does net his first goal of the season, it will be only his third goal at BC Place. Ten of the 12 goals he scored for Vancouver in his 44 appearances for the club came at Empire Field, the temporary home for the 'Caps while BC Place underwent renovations. But don’t expect a big celebration if he does score as he says he has too much respect for the fans.
“No, I have too much respect for the fans, so I can’t, I just can’t," he said.
“In BC Place, it’s always a great atmosphere to play in and they will [cheer] for Vancouver from the first to the last minute. I’m just super-excited to play against them.”
Matt Barbour covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com.