FC Dallas has agreed to contract extensions with Colombian defender Jair Benitez and midfielder Andrew Jacobson, the club announced today. Duo has started a combined 43 matches for FC Dallas this season. Per Major League Soccer and club policy, terms of the deal will not be disclosed.
“We are very happy to be able to re-sign both Jair Benitez and Andrew Jacobson,” FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman said. “Jair has been an important part of FC Dallas’ success. I consider him one of the best left fullbacks in Major League Soccer. Jair cannot only defend – he is also a very skillful fullback on the attack.”
Benitez joined FC Dallas on loan from Colombian first division side Deportivo Cali on July 22, 2009. Now 32, he made his MLS debut on July 24, 2009, playing 90 minutes in a 4-2 loss to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. Benitez has five career assists in 65 regular season matches for the defending Western Conference Champions. He also picked up a secondary assist on David Ferreira’s goal in the 35th minute of FC Dallas’ 2010 appearance in MLS Cup.
Benitez’s tenure with FC Dallas coincided with the club’s rapid ascension in the standings during the end of the 2009 season. The defender joined a 4-8-5 squad in July, and helped the team pick up seven wins to come within one game of qualifying for the postseason. Benitez’s ability to get forward and supplement the attack from his defensive position saw the club go from scoring a goal per game before his arrival, to averaging 2.3 goals per game in the final 13 matches of 2009.
Formerly a midfielder with French first division side FC Lorient, Andrew Jacobson joined FC Dallas in a trade with the Philadelphia Union on Feb. 18, 2011. Jacobson quickly established himself as a mainstay in central midfield alongside captain Daniel Hernandez. He currently leads FC Dallas in assists with five. Jacobson also tied his career high in games played this season. He has 25 in 2011, totaling a career best 1,740 minutes played. His first MLS goal came in the 27th minute of a 2-2 draw against the Houston Dynamo on May 28.
“Andrew Jacobson has really surpassed our expectations,” Hyndman said. “A skillful midfielder who also had the ability to play center back for us when the injuries began to pile up – AJ is a great addition to FC Dallas. He will continue to grow into one of the best midfielders in the league. It is great to have players such as Jair and AJ, who want to continue to play for FC Dallas.”