Atiba Harris and Daniel Hernandez are back in the fold for FC Dallas this weekend at San Jose after yellow-card suspensions, and head coach Schellas Hyndman couldn’t be happier.
“Those two bring leadership,” the FCD manager said. “Atiba is a two-way player who is strong attacking and defending goals. He has a tremendous work ethic and is strong in the air.”
And captain Hernandez is definitely glad to be back after having to watch last weekend’s action as a spectator.
“You feel like you can’t help the team up in the stands,” he said. “You want to play every game if you can.
“I was really happy the guys stepped in against Toronto on Saturday, did the job. I’m just happy to be back and help this team. Hopefully we can get a good result in San Jose.”
Starting Striker Still Unsettled
With Milton Rodríguez sidelined by a shoulder injury last week at Toronto, Hyndman gave Jeff Cunningham the start at forward. The veteran responded with his eighth goal in the second half. Rodríguez returned to practice earlier this week and appears to be in the mix to make his eighth start in nine games.
Hyndman admitted he has yet to decide whether Cunningham or Rodriguez will be in the first 11 this weekend, and says it’s will likely be a game-time decision. But he did add he was impressed with how Rodríguez looked in practice so far this week.
John’s Status Remains Uncertain
While Harris and Hernandez are back in the fold for this weekend, it looks like starting center back George John, who left last weekend’s game in the second half with a hamstring injury, might be out of the mix.
John did side work on Wednesday and Thursday but Hyndman wasn’t sure whether the big center back would be traveling with the team to San Jose.
Hyndman admitted that much of his training session on Thursday was spent on figuring out who would replace John in the back. Brazilian newcomer Jackson Gonçalves appears to be the top candidate.
“We like some of the things Jackson brought, but you lose communication,” Hyndman said. “He doesn’t speak English. You lose continuity but you pick up a pretty smart player who sees the game and reads it very well.
“He’s a defending player. He’s got the foot speed to run with Ryan Johnson or [Cornell] Glen.”
McCarty Staying Home
Earlier this week, linking midfielder Dax McCarty returned to practice for the first time since July, but he won’t be traveling with the team this weekend. McCarty has been sidelined with a strained right quadriceps muscle since then and his recovery has been somewhat slow.
With McCarty’s continued absence, rookie Eric Alexander figures to get a fifth straight start in his place. Alexander had a goal and an assist in a win at D.C. United back on Aug. 14.