Dallas Soccer: George John

FC Dallas tries to end skid vs. Chivas USA

June, 23, 2012
6/23/12
9:39
AM CT
FC Dallas is on the brink of recording its longest winless streak in team history, but a matchup with Chivas USA might help it avoid that dubious feat.

While attempting to end its 10-game drought, Dallas will seek to continue its mastery of a potentially fatigued Chivas squad Saturday night.

FC Dallas (3-9-4) matched its winless streak from July 2-Sept. 10, 2005, with a contentious 2-1 loss at rival Houston last Saturday. Before giving up the go-ahead goal in the 76th minute, Dallas players were involved in a brief tussle after defender Jair Benitez hit Dynamo midfielder Colin Clark in the head.

Benitez is suspended for his team's attempt to snap an 0-7-3 skid and the start of a season-high three-game homestand.

"I think we're getting to the point in the season where we really need to get results," defender Zach Loyd told the league's official website. "We keep dropping in the standings with less and less games to make up points so I think with the three-game home stretch here, we're shooting for nine points."

FC Dallas will now be facing a team it's beaten four straight times, and Chivas USA (5-7-3) will also be playing its third match in eight days.

Chivas has already earned one victory during its hectic stretch, 2-1 over Montreal on Wednesday, as Juan Pablo Angel broke the tie in the 82nd minute with his third goal in five games. The club's second win in nine league matches snapped a three-game winless drought.

"Certainly we gained some confidence out of doing some things well in this game and ultimately getting a result," coach Robin Fraser said. "We have to regroup and get ourselves ready for what's going to be a difficult game. Regardless of Dallas' record, they're a team full of good players. For anyone to take them lightly would be ridiculous."

Chivas probably won't do that because it hasn't scored in each of its last two games in Dallas, dropping both by 1-0 margins. FC Dallas has won 2-1 in each of the other two recent matchups, both on the road.

Brek Shea opened the scoring during a win in Southern California last June but is questionable for this game because of a bruised foot. Leading scorer Blas Perez, George John and Ricardo Villar are listed as questionable while four other players remain out, most notably David Ferreira.

Chivas forward Jose Correa and midfielder Miller Bolanos remain questionable while four other players are expected to sit out.

FC Dallas injury update: a mixed bag on the news front

June, 5, 2012
6/05/12
11:00
AM CT
After taking last Thursday and Friday off from training, FC Dallas returned to the practice field in Frisco on Monday morning and besides Blas Perez and Carlos Rodriguez, both of whom are with the Panamanian national team, there were several other players absent from the session. Here’s a breakdown from FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman.

M/F Fabian Castillo (sprained left ankle)

Castillo has been recently sidelined with some ankle issues but the good news is he’s returned to the practice field.

Hyndman’s Take: He’s fine. He’s training again.

CB Ugo Ihemelu (concussion symptoms)

Hyndman had said last week before the U.S. Open Cup loss to Charlotte that the team was giving their current captain some pills to help with his headaches. Here’s an update:

Hyndman’s Take: I think they made some progress but still, he didn’t train today.

CB George John (left USOC game early as precaution)

John had left the USOC loss to Charlotte during the first half as a precaution as it was thought he might have a concussion. However, it appears he has no symptoms, another bit of good news for Dallas.

Hyndman’s Take: George, seems to be all right but again, precautionary. So we’ll make some decisions on that as well.

CB Zach Loyd (see George John)

Like John, Loyd also left the Open Cup loss in the first half as a precaution with a potential concussion. But the major difference between his and Big George’s situation is that Loyd required stitches while John did not.

Hyndman’s Take: Zach got quite a few stitches, I think 20 stitches across the eye, so it was a pretty bad cut. The swelling has gone down obviously quite a bit. Stitches come out tomorrow. We were also a little concerned there might have been some phase of concussion, so what we did today was just let him work a little bit in tennis shoes and on fitness depending on if there was any throbbing pain or anything but he seemed to have gotten through it OK. From what he’s telling me, he doesn’t really have any of those symptoms, so I think he’s going to be all right.

M Brek Shea (turf toe)

Besides serving a three-game suspension after kicking a ball at a referee, Shea has also recently been bothered by a rather nasty case of turf toe. Hyndman offers an update, which might cast his availability for the next game on June 16 at Houston into some doubt.

Hyndman’s Take: Brek’s not training yet. We’re hoping for about another week. He’s out there jogging a little bit, so he’s out of his boot. That’s a good sign.
FC Dallas dropped a 2-0 decision to the Charlotte Eagles at FC Dallas Stadium in the third round of the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Dallas outshot Charlotte, 28-7, and still lost.

Dallas’ George John and Zach Loyd were forced out of the match after suffering injuries between the 24th and 41st minutes of play. Homegrown player Moises Hernandez replaced Loyd, while James Marcelin came on for John, but it was Charlotte’s substitution that made the biggest impact.

The Eagles’ Nate Thornton replaced Joseph Kwabe in the 40th minute. He needed just two minutes before he picked up an assist on a goal scored by Darryl Roberts. The play began with Thornton chasing down a long pass on the right flank and sending a cross to the back post for Roberts. There, the Trinidadian forward rose above his marker to nod a shot into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.

Dallas’ uphill battle got steeper in the 78th minute, when Jackson was ejected from the match following a collision with Irwin. The red card forced FC Dallas to play down a man for the remaining 12 minutes.

Pushing men forward in search of a game-saving goal, FC Dallas was caught on the counter-attack in the fourth minute of stoppage time. The Eagles’ combination of Thornton and Roberts hooked up again, this time in reverse, as Roberts received a pass on the left flank and played Thornton into space. One-on-one with FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz, Thornton calmly picked out the side-netting at the far post to give Charlotte the 2-0 victory.

Fabian Castillo not in Salt Lake; George John probable

May, 26, 2012
5/26/12
10:18
AM CT
Per the official injury report, George John is listed as probable, even after experiencing blurry vision after he was taken out of the game at Chicago on Wednesday. Here’s the official take from FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman.

“George went to the hospital. We weren’t sure if it was a mild concussion or a concussion,” Hyndman said. “He had blurry vision in his right eye. The doctor suggested that we not put him back in the game. We took him to the hospital, got CAT scans on him and things like that. Everything showed good, so he’s ready to play.”

However, the news isn’t so good on flank midfielder Fabian Castillo, who didn’t travel to the Windy City with a sprained left ankle. He will miss the Real Salt Lake game on Saturday as he did not rejoin the team.

“No, Castillo is still not with the team,” Hyndman said.

FC Dallas ties Philadelphia Union

May, 19, 2012
5/19/12
10:05
PM CT


FRISCO, Texas -- Gabriel Gomez scored in the 56th minute to help the Philadelphia Union tie FC Dallas, 1-1, on Saturday night.

Blas Perez scored for Dallas in the seventh minute.

Philadelphia (2-6-2) stopped a three-game losing, and Dallas (3-6-4) extended its winless streak to seven games -- the club's longest streak since a 10-game run in 2005.

Gomez scored on a header into the left corner of the net from the top of the goalie's box. Gomez collided with goalkeeper Kevin Hartman on the play and left the game in the 58th minute as he limped to celebrate his fourth goal of the year.

The Union's Carlos Valdes fired a long ball from near midfield that bounced off Dallas' Carlos Rodriguez and to Gomez. The goal came on Philadelphia's first shot of the game. It was the first time all season that the Union did not have a shot in a half. For the game FC Dallas outshot the Union 11-9. Dallas' Perez had an open shot at the Union goal, but goalkeeper Chase Harrison blocked the shot for one of his two saves in the game.

Perez opened the scoring when he headed a shot into the right corner of the net. The scoring sequence was started after Bryan Leyva curled a corner kick from the right corner to George John. John directed the ball to Perez, who made a diving header from inside the goalie's box.

Dallas played the first of three games without midfielder Brek Shea, suspended after he kicked a ball at an assistant referee in a 2-1 loss to Columbus on May 12. The Union played without starting midfielder after Freddy Adu, suspended for picking up two yellow cards in the team's 3-2 loss to New York on Sunday.

Five quick hits for the Columbus game

May, 12, 2012
5/12/12
8:33
AM CT
FC Dallas will look to end its two-game losing streak and secure their first road win of 2012 on Saturday night against Columbus at Crew Stadium. Here are five quick hits on the game:

1. Shea starting or not -- Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman confirmed Thursday that Brek Shea will make the trip to Columbus. But the gaffer is unclear as to whether or not the Bryan native will start or come off the bench against the Black-and-Gold come Saturday. Gut feeling is that No. 20 starts, have nothing to base that on but just have a feeling he’s back in the first 11.

2. O Captain, My Captain -- Who will be wearing the armband come Saturday? Hyndman said the club will find out more about the scope of Ugo Ihemelu’s concussion symptoms on Friday and called the SMU product 50-50. If he can’t go for a second straight game, expect George John to again don the armband. Don’t look now but John is quietly putting together another solid season in the central defense for Dallas.

3. Thorn in their side -- If there’s one Crew player who has done his share of damage against Dallas, it’s defender Chad Marshall. Whether it’s attacking or defending set pieces or just the overall presence he brings to the Columbus back line, the two-time MLS Defender of the Year is definitely a difference maker in the back for the Crew. But like Ihemelu, he experienced concussion symptoms before his club’s last game and his status for this weekend remains uncertain.

4. Exorcising a demon -- To say FCD’s record at Crew Stadium is horrible (1-10-6) might be a huge understatement. Dallas’ lone win on Columbus’ home pitch came in 2007 under Steve Morrow. This is a Crew club currently in transition and FCD has to win on the road sooner or later, so why not this weekend? If they can exorcise that demon, it would give them a nice shot of confidence heading into a game with Philadelphia next weekend, a match that starts another run of several matches in a compressed time frame.

5. Perez Back in the mix -- After getting a questionable red card in the first half of Sunday’s loss to Colorado and sitting out Wednesday’s setback to Seattle on suspension, FCD figures to get a huge boost from the return of offensive cog Blas Perez to the field Saturday. Perez leads the team with three assists and is tied with Shea for the team lead in goals with three. Plain and simple, Dallas is a different team when he’s on the field, which is exactly why he was signed in the off-season. Perez’s presence alone makes leaving the Ohio capital with at least a point a distinct possibility this weekend.

George John's form continues to improve

May, 1, 2012
5/01/12
11:16
AM CT
After FC Dallas beat the Montreal Impact, 2-1 at home a week ago Saturday, head coach Schellas Hyndman acknowledged the recent strong form shown by George John at center back.

The native of Washington state came into this season at quite a disadvantage, having not been with the club for the bulk of preseason as he was on loan to second-division English side West Ham United.

However, Hyndman acknowledges that after a brief acclimation period, he is starting to see John deliver better performances with each start alongside captain Ugo Ihemelu.

“Yeah, I think it was [his best game since he’s been back, against LA],” Hyndman said.

“I thought both he and Ugo did a pretty good job there. I think it was an improvement from last game, not that last game was bad but there is a steady improvement and you could tell he wasn’t with us for preseason.”

Schellas Hyndman gets desired back line reaction

May, 1, 2012
5/01/12
11:14
AM CT
One thing about FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman is that he’s never afraid to challenge his players. He did exactly that, asking his back line to play with a bit more bite in Saturday’s match with defending MLS Cup champion Los Angeles at the Home Depot Center.

FCD responded, being whistled for 14 fouls, which is short of their season-high of 17 against Montreal on April 14. The Impact are one of the most whistled clubs in MLS, so that’s understandable. But seeing his guys respond in similar fashion against the star-studded Galaxy definitely brought a smile to the gaffer’s face.

“One of the things that we were talking about before the game was guys, our defenders are good but sometimes they’re a little bit too nice," Hyndman said. "Defenders on opposition really kick the living daylights out of our forwards, so I told them not to be so nice. Get a little bit more physical, be courageous and have an agenda. Your agenda’s to not get turned and not to let your man get a shot off. I think the guys took it serious, so it was good.”

Matt Hedges' confidence continues to grow with FCD

April, 25, 2012
4/25/12
2:16
AM CT
When FC Dallas took Matt Hedges with their only pick in the 2012 MLS Super Draft, it was hard for FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman to contain his excitement over adding the 6-foot-4 defender from North Carolina in January.

Hyndman even went so far as to compare the 22-year-old Hedges to current FCD center back George John, a comparison that continues to gain steam in his eyes. The ex-Tar Heel has appeared in three games thus far and it’s a fair statement to say his new coach is impressed with his body of work thus far.

“Quite honestly, I think Matt Hedges is another George John. I think there’s a lot of similarities when you look at size and the success they had at the university, determination, the character, strength, courageous,” Hyndman said.

However, the only thing keeping the rookie defender from logging more minutes with the first team is the fact Dallas currently has a glut of center backs.

“We have so many center backs right now, so he may be suffering a little bit because there’s not an opportunity. But I thought putting him in late in the game, we felt like we were getting a lot of chances getting forward there at the end, which would create free kicks and create corner kicks,” Hyndman said. “The first corner kick we had, he had a great header on it and it was deflected by a defender. I think it might have gotten by the keeper. I think he’s doing fine. He just needs more playing time.”

And having your coach’s confidence is never a bad thing no matter the level of competition. “Feeling good, getting into a couple of games recently just shows the coach is starting to get more confidence in me and I’m glad. I’ve been performing well in practices. He’s always told us that if we’ve been performing well in practices and in games that we’ll get a chance and it’s true. I couldn’t be happier,” Hedges said.

He’s not the only UNC product currently playing in the back for Dallas as right back Zach Loyd is the other and while his fellow Tar Heel has helped him acclimate to the professional ranks, it two other fellow defenders who have been especially helpful.

“I think it’s Ugo [Ihemelu] and George [John that have helped me the most],” Hedges said. “They play the same position as me. They’ve given me some pointers and have been really helpful in adapting my game to the next level.”

But even though he has already appeared in three games, that doesn’t mean his adjustment process hasn’t been any easier. “You’ve just got to think faster, the speed of play is a lot faster than the college level. You’ve just got to be quicker thinking and you’ve got to anticipate a little bit better,” Hedges said.

Going from being in the first 11 on a regular basis at UNC to coming off the bench in MLS has been another adjustment, but playing in reserve games has definitely helped keep him game sharp.

“Yeah, they’ve kind of broken up the practices, but I’m not worried about not getting a lot of minutes so far,” Hedges said. “Every day’s a chance to get better, whether it’d be practices or reserve games. So I’m taking the opportunity to do that.”

The Report Card: FC Dallas vs Vancouver Whitecaps

April, 23, 2012
4/23/12
9:51
AM CT
First Touch: The good news? Subbing in Guarda and Warshaw for Villar and Jacobson didn't reveal any great drop off...

Second Touch: The bad news? Subbing in Guarda and Warshaw for Villar and Jacobson didn't reveal any great drop off...

The Finish: Hyndman is stuck playing the 4-1-4-1 with a lack of proper resources simply because the team is even worse off in the 4-4-2.

Grades:

Seitz: 7 - Overall a strong night with one monster save to keep the team in it. Like his speed off his line to gobble up loose balls. Extra credit for doing it on such short notice.

Loyd: 7 - Did you hear he scored a 31 on his yo-yo fitness test? Insanity. But it shows on the field.

Ugo: 7 - Once home team scored never was pressed too hard

John: 7 - See Ugo

Rodriguez: 5 - A couple of oddly poor defending decisions, the first directly related to Vancouver's goal

Castillo: 4 - While his work rate defensively has improved by leaps and bounds, he turned the ball over too many times and never could make his magic turn into opportunity.

Hernandez: 4 - Lots of pressure on him from the Whitecaps and that led to a lot of bad passes

Warshaw: 5 - Did a lot of the short, possessive type passing, but only four successful attacking passes out of 30. Everything else was backwards or lateral. Good at helping keep possession, but rarely ever made the team dangerous.

Guarda: 4 - An OK match. Never really hurt the side, but also showed that he's not a AM by nature and also explained the value of Villar in a time without Ferreira. Really blew the opportunity to tie with net wide open with a poor shot straight at Cannon

Shea: 6 - Led the team with shots and appears to be finding his mojo, but couldn't make a magic moment.

Perez: 5 - One. Shot. All. Match. And it was off frame and a header. If you want to know Dallas' problem it's that it can't get the ball to the hardworking Perez in spots where he can be dangerous. He's flat out being wasted.

Subs:

Sealy: 4 - Barely noticed him in his short spell
Hedges: 5 - Immediately almost scored from a header

George John, Scott Sealy solid in return

April, 13, 2012
4/13/12
1:13
PM CT
Even though David Ferreira, Ricardo Villar and Andrew Wiedeman remain out for FC Dallas with injuries, there were two bits of favorable news on the injury front this week as both George John and Scott Sealy returned to training.

John had missed the first few days of this week’s practice while going through league concussion protocols after he took a ball to the face in last Thursday’s win over the Revolution while Sealy has been out since preseason with a hamstring issue.

FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman elaborated on how both of them have looked in their first few days back on the practice field.

George John

Hyndman: Yeah, George, very good. I think as far as the health issue, the reason I say very good is he was out all preseason with us, so we’ve been working him a little bit hard. The common exercises that we do with our players are so different than what he’s been doing at West Ham for two months. Starting him, we’re starting to see some of the rustiness come out, so it’s good to see some of the confidence on the ball, the possession. He’s quickly getting back on track.

Scott Sealy

Hyndman: Very well, obviously this is going to be a timing thing for two weeks. I think he’s been out for four solid weeks. Just prior to that, he was out for four weeks after he had hurt himself. He’s looking good in training the last three days. We’ve been pushing him pretty hard. No issues. I talked to him. He says he’s fine, but he thought it was better not to come back until he was completely there and that paid off.

Schellas Hyndman sees similarities between Matt Hedges and George John

April, 11, 2012
4/11/12
4:00
PM CT
There were several big stories to come out of last Thursday’s 1-0 win over New England for FC Dallas. Besides losing two starters to injury, FCD also won in dramatic fashion with captain Ugo Ihemelu heading home the lone tally of the game in the 95th minute thanks to a scintillating free kick from Zach Loyd.

Another story of that game was the MLS debut of one Matt Hedges, who came on for George John in the second half after John took a ball to the face. Hedges nearly had his first career goal were Fabian Castillo’s corner kick not ruled to have gone over the touchline.

FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman had plenty to say about the ex-Tar Heel’s solid league debut. “He’s everything we wanted when we drafted him. You remember how happy I was when we got him,” Hyndman said. “It’s kind of an awkward situation for him because we didn’t really expect George [John] back, so now we’ve got another good center back. And I think Hedges has the capability of being as good as George but he needs playing time. I thought he did a lot. Obviously that goal that was called back, he skied on that one. He’s strong in the air. He’s powerful and he’s just going to get better and better.”

And the Dallas gaffer admits he sees more than a few similarities between John and Hedges. “You take a look across the league and Tommy Meyer is starting. We took him [Hedges] before Tommy Meyer. I think sometimes you have to be at the right place."

"George was here. We were looking for center backs and he was in the right place. He made his mistakes and when Danny Torres got hurt, he went in and he did a pretty daggone good job,” Hyndman said.“So he played his first year and if you remember he had a lot of injuries and second year, he got better and better. He started taking care of his body a little better. We started getting the right recovery, the right flexibility exercises. He was working real hard with Michael Johnson and a really good second year. I think again, the reflection of Matt and George is so similar.”
FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman offered updates on several injured players after almost a two-hour training session on Tuesday morning. Here’s what he had to say:

D GEORGE JOHN (CONCUSSION)

What is the latest on George, who was working on the side during training on Tuesday?

Hyndman: George I think has done his testing. Anytime you are dealing with concussion, head injuries, you’re always going to waver to the side of safety and we’re doing that. He did some running yesterday, some training yesterday and some basic heading yesterday, so those were real encouraging. Today I think he went to whatever doctor it is to get a follow-up and then more testing there. I see him down there now training and seems to be OK so hopefully he’ll be fine for this weekend.

F SCOTT SEALY (LEFT HAMSTRING)

Is he close to returning to training?

Hyndman: Good question, I think the reports I’ve gotten from the trainer is he could be out there training with us as early as tomorrow.



M RICARDO VILLAR (RIGHT FOOT)

Talk about the nature of his injury

Hyndman: Ricardo, he ended up with mid-foot sprain. What ended up happening when he was taken down, he came down and then Shalrie Joseph’s body came back on top of it [his foot] and twisted it in the ground, so it was a mid-foot sprain.

Did the foul by Shalrie Joseph that led to the injury look worse than it actually was since you had a good view of it as it happened right in front of you?

Hyndman: I think if you look at it, it was really an intent to stop a player from going anywhere because he came from behind and took the leg down. Was there intent to hurt him? No, and it probably would have been just a rolled ankle or something just on that alone because his body kept on going because once he took him down, he went straight down and his body fell on top of him. It definitely was not an intent. Injuries like that, now he’s out and the other guy has a yellow card. It doesn’t seem fair.

What is the timeframe for Villar’s return at this time?

Hyndman: We’ll take it week-by-week but it’s really a backwards step for the team because he’s such an important player for us and he was really getting into his own groove. He’d scored two goals. He’s an important player. Every team has their injuries. We just want to get him back as soon as we can.

F ANDREW WEIDEMAN (SPORTS HERNIA)

Did this injury pop up during preseason or has it been lingering with him for some time?

Hyndman: It lingered at the end of last year. We were a little bit conservative with it and just kept on working with him. He came back for preseason and you know how preseason is. You’re doing two-a-days and you’re going pretty hard and he started feeling a little bit of a pull. I think at first we had diagnosed it as more of a hip flexor and then it turned into OK, it’s not really that hip flexor. Maybe it’s more of an abdominal, hernia, sports hernia, whatever. So we got that taken care of because he was just getting to the point he was working hard out here but you could see his lost his explosion and all those quick things he used to do. We knew he wasn’t going to be out on the field. We’re looking at probably four to six weeks on him.

Is it similar to the injury Dax McCarty had in 2010, which was originally thought to be a hip flexor only to later be deemed as a sports hernia which needed surgery?

Hyndman: Yeah, I think it’s probably similar to that.

FC Dallas scores in stoppage time to beat New England

April, 5, 2012
4/05/12
10:52
PM CT
FRISCO, Texas -- Skipper Ugo Ihemelu's header five minutes into stoppage time lifted FC Dallas to a 1-0 win over New England on Thursday night.

It was about time. FCD was agressive the whole match, but missed on several close opportunities. Ihemelu's header saved them from the heartbreak of a draw.

"We would've been disappointed if we didn't get the win," Ihemelu said. "We knew we put in the work, and it was worth the payoff. That's all we can ask for."

Like all the missed chances, this one nearly didn't happen, too. Head coach Schellas Hyndman almost took Ihemelu out of the game due to cramping.

"I knew if I had to come out last-minute, I would take myself out," Ihemelu said. "Once [the trainer] started working on it, it calmed down quite a bit. Fortunately, I was in the right place at the right time for that goal."

For Hyndman, he said he didn't think Ihemelu could have been more captain-like.

"What a great example for a captain, to stay in there and want to play until the end," Hyndman said.

Ihemelu got the goal, but Hyndman was particularly impressed with the return of striker Fabián Castillo. With David Ferreira out another 6-8 weeks, his speed and aggressiveness adds depth to a team that has had trouble penetrating early in the year.

"I thought he was extremely dangerous, especially earlier in the game when he had his legs under him," Hyndman said.

After tonight, FCD fans could see more of Castillo with Blas Perez instead of a lone-striker formation.

Castillo said he was frustrated that he couldn't put one in the net, but he'll take the win.

"When you create so many opportunities and don't finish them, there's always a chance the opposition is going to finish one of their own," Castillo said through an interpreter. "With the team that we had, we were confident we could get the result, and thankfully [Ihemelu] was able to convert for us and get the three points."

The win snaps a two-game losing skid for FC Dallas, who takes on lowly Montreal on April 14.

New England takes a big step back with the loss after beating Los Angeles 3-1 last week.

Notes:

Shots (on goal): FC Dallas 13 (4) – New England 12 (5)

Fouls: FC Dallas 12 – New England 4

Possession: FC Dallas 42% – New England 58%

Yellow cards: FC Dallas 0 – New England 2 (Shalrie Joseph, 62; Chris Tierney, 80)

Red cards: FC Dallas 0 – New England 0

Injuries: Ricardo Villar left the game with an ankle injury. George John left the game with a concussion.

A theory why FCD closed practice on Wednesday

April, 5, 2012
4/05/12
11:34
AM CT
FC Dallas closed their Wednesday training session on the stadium field to the media, which has many speculating on what sort of lineup Schellas Hyndman will run out on Thursday night against the New England Revolution.

Here’s one such theory and an idea that seems to have some legs to it.

FCD Rolls Out in a 4-4-2

Blas Perez

Fabian Castillo
Carlos Rodriguez Andrew Jacobson Ricardo Villar Brek Shea
Hernan Pertuz Ugo Ihemelu George John Zach Loyd

Kevin Hartman

Analysis:

This 4-4-2 would feature Blas Perez and the now healthy Fabian Castillo up top. Shea would play to the right flank with basically left side only Carlos Rodriguez where he could better handle things. Jacobson would slide from linking to holding mid with ex-captain Daniel Hernandez serving a suspension for getting a pair of yellows in last Friday’s 4-1 loss at D.C. United. Ricardo Villar would of course occupy the No. 10 spot.

In the back, Hernan Pertuz would slide over from center back to fill in for Jair Benitez, who is also suspended, at left back while George John returns to a starting role alongside current captain Ugo Ihemelu with Zach Loyd in his normal spot on the right side. Of course, Hartman would return to his usual place between the posts for FCD.

Pros

Pairing Perez and Castillo together up top could wreak considerable havoc on the Revs back line, especially with Castillo’s pace and Perez’s precision in and around the net. Shea can handle the right, and actually really likes it there cause he can cut inside easier, while putting Rodriguez on the left will make him the most comfortable.

As for the defense, Pertuz wasn’t a bad fill in at left back at Kansas City when Benitez moved to left mid and is a serviceable solution there at least for now. However, it’s most likely he only starts there for one game because that job looks to be Benitez’s to lose and recent lack of emotional intelligence aside, he still sits in good stead with Hyndman.

Getting the John and Ihemelu tandem back together in the middle can never be a bad thing, especially considering the strong chemistry they have displayed during their time playing together with FCD over the last few years. Maybe having that dependable duo in the middle could also help Loyd out a bit, who comes into Thursday’s game after one of the tougher performances of his short MLS career.

Cons

The biggest con with this potential formation switch could center around Jacobson. It’s no big secret that he’s been an absolute turnover machine in the middle of the park for FCD early in the season and that he hasn’t been anywhere near the player he was for much of last year, even while he was battling his way through a knee issue.

But if that good Jacobson can return to the pitch for Dallas, then this 4-4-2 has a legitimate chance of working. If the evil goateed A.J. that has been the norm so far this year is again in the building, this switch may just be doomed from the start. Jacobson can handle the responsibilities associated with being the defensive mid, but his distribution obviously has to be much better in the 4-4-2 because there will be no safety valve in Hernandez behind him should he make a bad pass in the middle third of the pitch.

Maybe one theory in play with Jacobson this year, and it might not be one Hyndman or FCD fans want to hear, is maybe A.J. is a one year player. Look at his career to date. He spent one season in D.C. and another in Philadelphia before they decided to let him go. United left him exposed in the 2009 Expansion Draft and the Union didn’t seem all to broken up to ship him off to FCD last preseason. Maybe these are both cases of mere coincidence, but then again it happening two times makes it anything but a fluke. I'm just speculating but perhaps it’s something to consider.

While one hates to put so much pressure on one player, there’s no doubt that tomorrow night’s game should FCD roll out in the 4-4-2 could very well hinge on the central midfield and how well Jacobson plays. If he and Villar can work well together, then it could be a great night for Dallas supporters. But if not, it will be another result to file in the ever-growing file of games to forget about in very short order.

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