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.”