It was a solid win by FC Dallas on Saturday night, beating the expansion Montreal Impact 2-1 at FC Dallas Stadium in a game that was eventful to say the least.
When Dallas gaffer Schellas Hyndman made two changes to start the second half, bringing on Bruno Guarda and Bobby Warshaw for Andrew Jacobson and Hernan Pertuz, respectively, few thought it was anything more than a tactical adjustment. And since those changes signaled a shift from the 4-4-2 formation that FCD had employed in the opening 45 minutes to more of a 4-1-4-1 in the final half of play, no one thought that those two substitutions could be injury-related.
However, injuries are exactly what had happened, something Hyndman discussed after the game.
It turns out Jacobson was having some issues in his back and leg after getting kicked more than a few times by the hard-fouling boys from Montreal. As for Pertuz, he had a foot swell up and was unable to answer the bell for the second half.
“Pertuz got kicked over on the sideline and just wasn’t able to go. He fought his way through the first half but we knew something was wrong,” Hyndman said. “When we brought him up here [to the locker room at halftime], the foot was swollen and he just couldn’t go. AJ took a few hits, more of the back and leg that was bothering him.”
Obviously, if these injuries keep one or both of these guys off the field for any significant period of time they are big negatives for Dallas. No matter whether it’s been at left back or at right back, where he has started each of the last two weeks in Hyndman’s 4-4-2, the Colombian defender Pertuz has been a rock-solid addition to the FCD backline.
Some might have questioned why Jair Benitez, who normally starts at left back for Dallas, wasn’t back in the first 11 for the Montreal game, but the answer is simple. If Hyndman is anything, he’s consistent, especially when it comes to winning. When a formation and a lineup works, if all of those same 11 players are available the following week, it’s a safe bet he’ll employ the same look barring something unforeseen.
That’s why Pertuz was in the starting lineup against the Impact and Benitez was on the pine. Pertuz has earned his playing time and will be until he slips up or Jair plays his way back into the first 11 through a string of strong performances in training... pending injury of course. Pertuz might be relatively new to MLS and to this club, but he’s already more than shown his value and if he’s not available for a while, it would definitely be a big loss.
Ditto for Jacobson, who after a rough start to the season, seems to have found himself and is no longer trying to do too much in the middle of the field. Some feel he might best serve this team as the holding mid with Warshaw possibly starting in the linking role but that’s a whole other discussion. The fact of the matter is that he and Daniel Hernandez form a steady if not a bit nard-nosed tandem in the middle of the yard and if A.J. is out for a while, that too would be a big loss.
Of course, the Dallas midfield is already a bit thin with David Ferreira out for about the next two months, as is Andrew Wiedeman, after both of them underwent recent surgeries. Ricardo Villar is week to week. Help is on the way as Jackson is thought to be arriving this week but it’s unknown what his current fitness level is, but if he’s ready to roll, he can definitely provide help in very short order.
We’ll find out more about the condition of Jacobson and Pertuz on Monday. Hopefully the news is good.