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.”