Stats show FC Dallas' Ryan Hollingshead is a top fullback in MLS

Though so much more than just a left back, FC Dallas have ensured they need not worry about the position for the foreseeable future on Tuesday, inking versatile defender Ryan Hollingshead to a contract extension

Originally acquired as a 2013 SuperDraft second-round pick, Hollingshead's MLS career has enjoyed its peaks and persevered through adversity, be it recovering from a broken neck suffered in a heroic act that earned him 2017 MLS Works Humanitarian of the Year or working to earn his starting role back. 

It all led to a career-best 2019 campaign and a new contract.

First-year head coach Luchi Gonzalez has leaned heavily upon the 28-year-old, a constant presence in the team. He has appeared in all 30 games, starting 29 while posting a career-best six goals and three assists. And the news of his contract has been favorably among his club's supporters.

Outside of Dallas, though, he hasn't gotten enough love for his form. He has statistically been one of the best fullbacks in 2019.  

Stat 2019 total Rank among fullbacks
Goals 6 1st
Successful passes 1,133 1st
Dribbles completed 47 4th
Tackles won 48 2nd
Duels won 216 1st
Recoveries 187 1st

Hollingshead is first across all defenders in goals and duels won. (All stats are per Opta.) 

Bobby Warshaw wrote this in June about the fullback, calling him Dallas' best player throughout the first half of the season:

"How can you not give props to someone who has played five different positions in 15 games? Hollingshead started the season at left back, and has since played left wing, right back, center back, and defensive midfield. At none of those spots has he looked out of place. FC Dallas have been hit hard by international call ups and injuries, and Hollingshead has helped them keep their heads above water."

In a more abstract sense, Hollingshead personifies the balancing act Dallas endeavor with their youth movement. No doubt, his veteran presence is equally important on the field and in the locker room for a club that has given Paxton Pomykal, Jesus Ferreira, Reggie Cannon and the rest of the young Homegrown talents opportunities to succeed. 

For a player who delayed the start of his MLS career by a year to help build a church in Sacramento and spend time in Haiti doing charity work at an orphanage, Hollingshead's impact on those around him as a teammate has never been greater.

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