What the return of George John means for FC Dallas' defense

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The veteran defense looks fully recovered from a hamstring injury that has kept him out of the last four games.

Hamstring injuries are a pain. Both literally and figuratively. When FC Dallas defender George John went down with a hamstring injury back in May against Vancouver, I thought at the time that this could be a lasting injury for the entire season. And so far it appears to be the case.

John missed three games following the initial injury to his hamstring but would then return for a busy month of June that saw the team play multiple games a week. That would then cause more issues as he re-aggervated the same injury and would later miss four more games.

In May, Dallas would go 1-1-1 without John in the lineup. And during the most recent four game stretch, FC Dallas has gone 0-2-2, giving up seven goals in those four games. The fact of the matter is, the defense and the team needs a healthy George John to succeed this season.

The stats alone back up this as with John on the field this season, Dallas is 9-2-4 with 14 goals conceded. Without him Dallas has give up 13 goals in just seven games.

But the bigger intangible item that John brings to the field is his leadership and vocal ability. FC Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman told MLSSoccer.com's Matt Barbour on Tuesday that John brings something to the back line that no one else brings.

"When you look at our back four, Jair [Benitez] is not vocal, Matt [Hedges] is not vocal and Zach [Loyd] is not vocal," coach Schellas Hyndman said to reporters after Tuesday's practice. "[John] comes in and coordinates everybody together and some people thrive off of that and...play better because of [the leadership].

"What he also brings in is a little bit of intensity and he's a little bit more vocal."

It has been pretty evident as of late as to why the back line hasn't been nearly as good as it once was this season. The vocal leadership has fallen to Raul Fernandez, who is probably still getting use to being a vocal leader on the field. Not to mention the language barrier that is probably still in place despite the club taking language courses together.

John also brings an intensity to set pieces that has been missing as well. Dallas hasn't scored in three games and their last set piece goal was in the 2-2 draw against the Philadelphia Union.

John should be healthy enough to go this weekend against the Montreal Impact, a team currently on their own losing streak as well. The Impact have won once in their last six outings, but have also given up 14 goals in that stretch.

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