Dallas Soccer: Jair Benitez

FC Dallas tries to end skid vs. Chivas USA

June, 23, 2012
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.

Scattershooting with Schellas Hyndman

May, 11, 2012
Here are a couple of other random subjects that FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman was asked about Friday:

How great is it going to be to get Blas Perez back for the Columbus game?

Hyndman: He’s the one that we brought in. He’s the one that’s going to help us get goals. I thought yesterday’s game in some ways was one of our better performances. If he’d been on the field, I think he would have found himself at least in front of the goal with the ball.

Jair Benitez has delivered strong performances in the last two games. Do you feel like his confidence is back up to where it was before his knee injury?

Hyndman: Yeah, he has. Confidence, I don’t know if it’s confidence. He had a little bit of an issue with his knee and LA game was a game where he was just coming back. I thought what he did in the Colorado game was he worked probably as hard as anybody on the field. I think now when you look at this game last night, I thought he was one of the bright spots.

Earlier in the week, you said you’d like to give one of the two games this week to Chris Seitz. Will he start Saturday against the Crew in goal or do you go with Kevin Hartman?

Hyndman: Yeah, Kevin’s played real well. I think what we’ll do is for all the tactical reasons, we’ll make that decision later.

Five quick hits heading into Colorado game

May, 5, 2012
We’re just over 24 hours from FC Dallas hosting the Colorado Rapids on Sunday night in Frisco, so here are five quick hits on the game.

1) Will we see the Kevin Hartman of old? -- Hartman has looked pretty solid this week in training. However, FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman said that while El Gato told him he felt good, he wanted to hear him say he felt great. To his credit, Chris Seitz has done well in Hartman’s place. This could be the game when Big Kev returns, but is he back to his old self?

2) How will James Marcellin figure into this thing? -- With Bobby Warshaw having foot surgery on Friday and going on the six-game injured reserve, Dallas added Haitian midfielder James Marcellin, most recently of the Portland Timbers, on Friday. But how much can we expect to see Marcellin? He will most likely come off the bench for FCD and his signing was done mainly to give the club some cover in the middle of the park.

3) Brek Shea: Go or no-go? -- Even while battling turf toe, Shea has scored in three of the last four games. But this week in training, it was clear the Bryan native was ailing a bit. Hyndman said he would be wearing orthopedic insoles to help his condition, but Shea sat out training on Friday as a precaution. With three games in seven days, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see him sit this Sunday’s match so he is ready for Wednesday’s visit from Seattle Sounders FC. Or vice versa.

4) Who will control the central midfield? -- The Rapids might currently be without Dallas' longtime nemesis Pablo Mastroeni, but Oscar Pareja’s club still has plenty to contend with in the central midfield. Newcomer Martin Rivero currently leads the Rapids with three assists and we’ve all seen how deadly Jeff Larentowicz can be on set pieces. Colorado is also pretty stacked at forward with the likes of mainstay Omar Cummings plus talented newcomers Tony Cascio and Kamani Hill.

5) Will we see a bounce-back performance from Jair Benitez? -- Last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Los Angeles was definitely a low point for Jair Benitez in his nearly two years with FCD. Many have been calling for Hyndman to bench him, but considering Hernan Pertuz has been coming off the bench the last few games, that appears unlikely. So, with Benitez most likely back in the first 11 at left back, hopefully he shows well for himself against the Rapids, especially since atoning for that abysmal performance against the reigning champs should be foremost in his mind right now.

FC Devil's Advocate: club was lucky to get a draw in LA

May, 2, 2012
The spin from the FC Dallas side of things after Saturday’s 1-1 draw at the Los Angeles Galaxy was understandable. After going 0-3-0 in their first three excursions away from home, Saturday’s draw was a step in the right direction. And from the glass half full perspective, getting a point against the reigning league titleholder is never a bad thing.

However, looking at this thing a bit more realistically, it’s a fair statement to say that FCD was more than a bit lucky to leave the Home Depot Center with a point for several reasons. Here are a few of those:

Landon Donovan’s Shot off the Post Early in the Game---OK, so Donovan is the guy many fans love to hate and the angle wasn’t particularly a great one, but it wouldn’t have been a huge stretch to see No. 10 bury this one and put the home side up 1-0 early. Might have to check the video and see if FCD left back Jair Benitez wiped his brow in relief after this one drew iron as it was his misplay of Robbie Keane’s ball from the middle that allowed Donovan to even have a chance at the goal in the first place.

Roy Keane’s Missed PK Late in the First Half---Sure, PKs are never a 100 percent certainty no matter the level of play, but how many kicks has a guy with the resume of Keane missed in his life, much less had where he missed the goal completely? Like anyone could even know that, but it’s surely a pretty miniscule number, proving that once again, the soccer gods were on Benitez’s side since it was his shove to the back of Donovan that drew the PK in the first place.

David Beckham’s Missed Free Kick with About Five Minutes Remaining---We’ve all seen the highlights time and time again of Becks bending a free kick in for a goal, and the accomplished Brit almost did it again with about five minutes left in Saturday’s match. His effort ended up sailing a bit high but if it was down about a foot or so, it would have been in because he did an unbelievable job of bending his boot around the wall, so well that FCD goalkeeper Chris Seitz would have had no chance of even getting a finger on it.

Schellas Hyndman: Jair Benitez has had better games

May, 2, 2012
No FC Dallas player was happier to see his club leave the Home Depot Center with a point after tying the reigning MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday than Jair Benitez. The starting left back delivered what has to rank as his worst game with FCD, being culpable not only in LA’s equalizer late in second-half stoppage time, but also in several near-misses by the Galaxy earlier in the evening.

One of those chances was a ball from Robbie Keane less than 10 minutes in that he misplayed, a sequence where Landon Donovan hit the right post. And then there was his shove to Donovan’s back later inside the Dallas area that led to the Galaxy PK, an attempt which Keane knocked wide right.

FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman acknowledged on Monday that it wasn’t Benitez’s finest hour. “It’s a tough team to play against. They’ve got great services. They’re able to knock pretty accurate long balls, pretty good speed with [Landon] Donovan, [Edson] Buddle coming through and [Sean] Franklin coming up,” Hyndman said. “Yeah, I think he’s had better games.”

Schellas Hyndman gets desired back line reaction

May, 1, 2012
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.”

Match photos: Real Salt Lake at FC Dallas

April, 26, 2012
Photos from the game between Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas.

Here's a direct link to the photos is you'er having trouble seeing them here.

Quick injury updates

April, 25, 2012
According to Schellas Hyndman...

Jair Benitez is fine and is available.

Hartman is technically listed as questionable on injury report but Schellas said he's unavailable. So Chris Seitz should start with Richard Sanchez as the backup.

Andrew Jacobson is questionable.

Jair Benitez has been battling left knee tendonitis for much of April

April, 24, 2012
When FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman didn’t start Jair Benitez at left back in a 2-1 win over Montreal on April 14 at FC Dallas Stadium and when Benitez didn’t even travel with the team for a 1-0 road loss at Vancouver on Saturday night at BC Place, some wondered if the Colombian defender had found his way into Hyndman’s doghouse.

But any such conclusions were premature to say the least. That’s because Benitez has been bothered by tendonitis in his left knee for much of April. He had his left knee wrapped during practice on Monday but did go through drills with no issue.

“He picked up a little bit of a knock in the knee and it was bothering him a little bit. I think he was only about 80 percent and I didn’t want to take a player that was 80 percent because more than likely as coaches we go to that player and ask him to play,” Hyndman said of the injury. “It gave him a weekend off for recovery. Hopefully tomorrow we can get a final OK with him.”

Benitez remembers exactly when his knee became an issue this season. “Before New England, I started feeling pain but I was suspended for that game, so I got treatment,” he said through a translator. “But the pain started getting worse, which is why I missed some games.”

However, he also remembers the origins of his current injury, something which dates back to last season. “I’ve been having the tendonitis since I hit El Gato [Kevin Hartman] last year, that hit with Kevin,” Benitez recalled. “Since then, I’ve been having problems with that tendonitis.”

So, how does one cure tendonitis? It’s actually pretty simple.

“Therapy and also rest [is what helps]. I’m getting better. I’m still dealing with the pain, but I hope to be ready for Wednesday,” Benitez said.

He had appeared in four games prior to the injury but could return on Wednesday night against Real Salt Lake. If not, he figures to be a real possibility for Saturday’s trip to Los Angeles.
By his very nature, FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman likes to keep things fairly simple. Basically, if a formation and/or a lineup works, namely results in a win, then he’s very likely to stick with that same methodology in the game following. That was definitely the case in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Montreal.

Even with starting left back Jair Benitez returning from suspension, Hyndman opted to keep Hernan Pertuz in his first 11 at left back and sit Benitez on the bench. Ex-captain Daniel Hernandez did return to the starting lineup alongside Andrew Jacobson but that could have been a simple decision, especially with Ricardo Villar out with a foot injury.

Still, it is interesting to hear the gaffer discuss such things, which he did in great detail after training on Monday.

“It is exactly that [based on the fact that things were working],” Hyndman said. “It was the first shutout we’d had [against New England] and it was working. Now all of a sudden, you’re going to change it after having a first shutout? You have to remember I didn’t think we played very well against D.C. and if you look at those mistakes, you can start looking at the area of concern. That’s why we made the change and so as much as we like Pertuz there, it’s really not his position.”

Hyndman added: “What we do is we lose out on one side of the field because you’ve got Pertuz on one side, who doesn’t attack real well and you’ve got Carlos [Rodriguez] in front of him that doesn’t attack real well. That was another thing that was developing. When I’m making all of these changes and a lot of it is through necessity, knowing that if we get a good result here, a good performance here, it was great but what do we want? I think you’ll start to see us getting back into positional players.”

Jair Benitez, Daniel Hernandez look good in training

April, 13, 2012
FC Dallas will have left back Jair Benitez and holding mid Daniel Hernandez again available for Saturday’s visit from Montreal. It almost seems like a lock that Benitez will return to his old spot and it wouldn’t surprise many to see Hernandez starting alongside Andrew Jacobson, who filled in nicely for the ex-Dallas captain at the d-mid spot in last Thursday’s 1-0 win over New England.

Head coach Schellas Hyndman has been happy with how Benitez and Hernandez have performed in training this week, much less how his entire squad has shown thus far.

“They’ve both looked good. We’ve really had a good week of training. A lot of that is we had the reserve game,” Hyndman said. “The first team played on a Thursday, had recovery on Friday. So they worked hard Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Today [Thursday] we back off a little bit and then the reserve players had a game, so they had to train on Monday, game day on Tuesday and recovery day on Wednesday. I was training basically with 10-11 players and I think we got a lot of things done, a high level of intensity and a high level of play.”

FCD back line remains a work in progress

April, 4, 2012
Friday’s 4-1 loss at D.C. United was definitely not the finest hour for a FC Dallas back line that featured Hernan Pertuz at center back alongside captain Ugo Ihemelu. That back line could look even worse on Thursday night against New England with left back Jair Benitez suspended one game for violent conduct against United’s Danny Cruz.

Benitez’s absence means Pertuz likely shifts to the left flank while George John, who was unavailable last week, likely returns to center back alongside Ihemelu. Although Carlos Rodriguez would also slide into Benitez's spot.

For a club whose back line was one of their biggest strengths in 2011, that definitely has not been the case this season. FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman called the group a work in progress but for good reason.

“I think it continues to be a work-in-progress. You got to look at how many people have been out,” Hyndman said. “You’ve got Brek Shea playing and not playing. You’ve got Fabian Castillo playing, not playing and now hopefully playing. Now you’ve Pertuz in there with Ugo or George John. There’s some very logical reasons why they’re not coordinated-we haven’t been able to put a lineup out there that has been the same.”

Sudden lack of emotional intelligence alarming for FCD

April, 3, 2012
One of Schellas Hyndman’s buzzwords since he was hired to coach FC Dallas back in June 2008 has been emotional intelligence. That phrase got quite the workout last year in reference to one Jackson Goncalves, who had several issues whether it was a red card early in the season or his decision to miss a game in the middle of the year to get married back in his native Brazil.

Starting left back Jair Benitez is another player who has been referred to in a similar vein, as in his seeming lack of that trait in certain games. Benitez’s composure deserted him yet again in Friday’s 4-1 road loss to D.C. United at RFK Stadium and sure, Danny Cruz sold the apparent elbow Benitez delivered and the one-game suspension Jair got for that infraction on Tuesday is more than a bit iffy, but the point is he shouldn’t have been in such a position in a first place. Then again, he should have had more composure than to just elbow a guy like he apparently did to Cruz.

Benitez won’t be the only starter Dallas will be missing on Thursday night against New England. Ex-captain Daniel Hernandez will also be suspended after being ejected from the D.C. game after earning a pair of yellow cards in the loss.

Who replaces Hernandez at defensive mid is a much bigger question than who replaces Benitez at left back as that will likely be Hernan Pertuz, but these two suspensions, which come at a time when FCD’s depth is still more than a bit suspect, does bring up the point that emotional intelligence has already been an issue for Hyndman’s club this season.

Of course, Benitez was well on his way to yellow card purgatory after earning a caution in each first two matches, a streak that ended in the loss at Kansas City, but composure has always been an issue with him and Hernandez has been suspended on several occasions during his career for yellow card accumulation.

So maybe not having Benitez and Hernandez has a somewhat unexpected silver lining for the Revolution game? Maybe it allows Hyndman to roll out a 4-4-2 formation for the first time this year or maybe it gives Pertuz and maybe even Bobby Warshaw or Bruno Guarda a chance to shine in the ex-captain’s place.

Hopefully Benitez and Hernandez will spend plenty of time contemplating how and why they are suspended this week because like it or not, the starting left back and d-mid are two players who are both pretty crucial to any success FCD hopes to have in 2011. If they can regain their composure and show some emotional intelligence, then it will be to the better of the entire club but if this becomes a trend, it could have far-reaching effects to say the least.
FCD, as you can tell from our Match Day Info, is missing a bunch of pieces. Fabian Castillo, Scott Sealy, David Ferreira, Brek Shea, and Carlos Rodriguez are all missing for various reasons.

So decisions have to be made in terms of lineup. The evidence of sub patterns says Schellas Hyndman has wanted to get George John back in the lineup, and this looks like his chance.

So who else is going to play? Based on various things here's our best guess.

Perez and Villar are no brainers, as are Jacobson, Hernandez, Ihemelu, Hartman, and Loyd. John as I mentioned should step in and I think Petruz will get the call at left back. He's outplayed Benitez anyway, in my opinion. Hyndman moved Benitez to midfield last game and seemed to think it worked based on his quotes. And last, but not least, FCD has an article this week about Bryan Leyva and how he had played well enough to start again, which frankly I agree with.

So here you go...
Benitez Jacobson Leyva
Petruz Ihemelu John Loyd

So what lineup would you run out?

Monday Morning Gaffer: Portland Timbers at FC Dallas

March, 18, 2012
FC Dallas went into this game missing a bunch of pieces, David Ferreira still hurt, Break Shea out with the U23s, and Fabian Castillo banged up. George John still hasn’t regained his starting spot but that may be close to happening now.

It was a good result for us considering we were without three of our most important attacking phase players: Fabian Castillo, Brek Shea and David Ferreira. I was really pleased with the effort the boys put in. I was very happy we fought all the way to the last second. – FCD Head Coach Schellas Hyndman

El Bueno (The Good)

I don’t think you can under sell what a big addition Blas Perez has been. He’s exactly the kind of high striker FCD has needed. Ability to hold the ball, positioning in the box, laying the ball off to attacking midfielders, defense form the front… everything FCD needed.

Zach Loyd has been terrific this year and continues his great form in this game. He’s amazingly fit and is getting down the field even late in games.

I like what I’m seeing from Ricardo Villar in the David Ferreira spot. Villar is linking play well, getting into good spots in the final third, holding for transition, and earning fouls in dangerous spots. I’m beginning to think he might make a good linking mid when Ferreira comes back, giving Jacobson a challenge.

I felt we started off well, thought the first 20-25 minutes we did a lot of things right. Ricardo was getting a lot of touches on the ball. - Hyndman

El Camino Central (Middle of the Road)

Fantastic for Leyva to get his first start, I thought he was solid, even getting in on the goal. Leyva’s sub was about the dangerous crosses and getting a defender into the game, you can see Hyndman say that to him and gesture to the defensive end. Still, that has to be a gutting blow to the kid, I was afraid for a second he might tear up.

He’s a Homegrown player. He has been with us three years and this is the first time he played any minutes. We all felt like he did a very good job, but we may not be able to dodge that bullet if we did not get George John on the field. - Hyndman

Andrew Jacobson for me was a bit hit or miss in this one. He had some solid play defensively, helping clog the midfield, but didn’t add a lot going forward. I’d like to see more box penetration and long range shooting from him.

2 games, 2 starts for Daniel Hernandez... I know the season is young but if he starts all 34 games FCD is going to have a big problem.

No Tan Bueno (not so good)

I’ve long admitted to not being a fan of Jair Benitez’s game, he takes to many risks for me and relays on his pace to recover. As he ages, and he’s not young at 33, that strategy won’t work as his pace diminishes. His form this year isn’t great and I hope this isn’t the beginning of the end. He’s been outplayed in back to back games by both Carlos Rodriguez and Hernan Pertuz was subbed in the first game and shifted to midfield in this one. It won’t shock me to see George John back in the starting lineup with Pertuz wid lefte in the next game.

The fact FCD played the 2nd half with two outside backs at wide midfield (Jair Benitez and Carlos Rodriguez) clearly demonstrates a roster problem. There simply isn’t enough wide mids on the roster. Shea is missing, Castillo hurt, Scott Sealy, who can play there, is banged up… SH clearly has no faith in Andrew Wiedeman. That’s how you end up with Bryan Leyva, who is traditionally more a central player, out wide in the first half and two defenders in the 2nd. FCD needs to find at least one more wide mid Hyndman can actually feel good about putting in a game. Someone like Eric Alexander maybe… oops.

I just think we are very thin right now. I didn’t want to put a player late in the game and have him try and get into the rhythm of the game. That is why we only used one substitution. - Hyndman