FC Dallas’ newest player, James Marcelin, didn’t have to wait long to make his club debut. The Haitian midfielder was pressed into duty at halftime of Sunday night’s 2-0 loss to Colorado.
FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman needed someone to play defensive midfielder in the wake of starter Daniel Hernandez being ejected with about 10 minutes remaining in the open half, so Hyndman called on Marcelin, and by all accounts he did well.
“I think he showed us a little bit yesterday. I think he’s not match fit, so that’s a concern. He’s been up with Portland, went through preseason but once the season started, he wasn’t getting games. They decided to go in a different direction. That’s why they waived them. Now all of a sudden here’s a waived player that’s going to be starting for us a week after he got here,” Hyndman said. “Yeah, I’m OK with it, comfortable with it because you have to always think about what’s the other options?”
Marcelin agrees that he’s not match fit, but added that he does feel like he can contribute to his new club.
“I think I’m 75 [percent] right now because of that game [on Sunday],” he said after training Monday. “I worked hard. I wasn’t ready because I had a hamstring injury and then I came here. I already played a half in a reserve game.”
However, he admits that playing 45 minutes in a reserve game for FCD last Tuesday did help him out on Sunday night.
“I didn’t play the whole game because I didn’t want to force it with my (hamstring) injury,” Marcelin said. “I didn’t know where I was at because of the injury. I didn’t practice before I came here. I just came in and played the reserve game without knowing (about my injury).”
He admits that when Hyndman asked him to go in at the start of the final half of play, he didn’t know what to expect, but after shaking his initial feelings of discomfort, he felt better even though he didn’t come on in the most ideal of circumstances for his club debut.
“At first, I wasn’t comfortable because it was different. When we had the ball, we had to run into spaces to make plays so we can have the ball,” Marcelin said. “We couldn’t do anything but defend but we had to do what we had to do.”
So, is he ready to possibly make his first start with FCD as soon as Wednesday against Seattle Sounders FC, a game which Hernandez will miss on suspension. “It’s not physical right now (for this team),” Marcelin said. “The team lost two men in the game. It’s all about mental right now. We have to focus on that.”
He didn’t know anybody on the Dallas roster prior to arriving but was familiar with many of the players after spending 2011 with Portland and playing FCD twice. “I played them twice last year, at home and then here. But I didn’t have any friends here.”
But the affable Haitian did say that he was pretty good friends with a pair of Portland teammates who had Dallas ties in midfielder Eric Alexander, who came over in a trade for Jeremy Hall last summer, and ex-FCD striker Kenny Cooper.