FRISCO, Texas – Kenny Cooper returned to training today for the first time since suffering a concussion in FC Dallas’ May 25 match against the San Jose Earthquakes.
That's the good news. The bad news is that Dallas don't directly benefit from the punishment meted out as a result of Cooper's injury.
“We just wanted to be a little bit safe and didn’t take him to Colorado [last weekend],” coach Hyndman told reporters after practice on Tuesday. “We’ll get him training [today] and bring him along slowly, then next Wednesday we have the US Open Cup with Houston ... we hope to have him dress and see how he does.”
Cooper was injured when he and Earthquakes defender Víctor Bernárdez fought for a ball that was heading out of bounds towards the team benches. The players collided and hit the turf right in front of Hyndman, though he admitted that at game speed it was tough to determine exactly what had happened.
“I thought, ‘Why do that at the center line? Because he’s going nowhere,’" explained Hyndman. "So I didn’t see anything [live], but then someone said to me that when you see it, you’re going to be a little bit upset. And then I looked at it and yeah, it was probably contact that didn’t need to happen."
The Major League Soccer Disciplinary Committee reviewed the tough foul by Bernárdez last week and determined that the play was worthy of a red card (Bernárdez received a yellow card on the play). The committee handed down a two-match suspension for the Honduran international, causing him to miss San Jose's 3-0 loss to Real Salt Lake on Saturday and their game at Colorado on June 15.
“The Disciplinary Committee and the punishment is always a funny, funny thing,” mused Hyndman. “It never helps the team – we’re not helped at all. In fact, we’re hurt as we’ve got a guy that’s out for two games, but it helps the next two teams that [San Jose] plays against and those teams are Western Conference teams that we are competing against.
“So in some ways, we’re helping those [other] teams find success against the team that’s been punished for the act they did on us. That whole thing just doesn’t make sense when you look at it, but I don’t know if there is a better answer.”