Not since Ruben Luna has FC Dallas has a Homegrown player play the full 90 minutes in a match. Bryan Leyva never did it. Neither has any of the other Homegrown players.
That was until last Wednesday when London Woodberry filled in for the injured George John against the Portland Timbers and went the full 90. He then went out again on Saturday in the 2-1 win over D.C. United and pulled in another 90 solid minutes of action.
Woodberry also played in two other games this season when John went down but the last two starts were his first in front of the home faithful.
Now Woodberry stands alone in the FC Dallas Homegrown mountain (this is totally made up by me, trademark pending).
"But, I thought today he showed a lot of (good) qualities," said Schellas Hyndman after the 1-1 draw with Portland. "We're so happy he's a homegrown player who was developed here under FC Dallas. He played against two very good strikers, very athletic players. I don't know if they get much better in the league. So, this was a big night for him and I'm really happy for him."
Looking back at his two game effort last week one thing stood out to me, while he had a couple rookie moments that looked shaky, he was overall very solid in the center of the defense.
"Obvious it is difficult for a rookie to come in and make plays, but I had to step in due to injuries and I thought I handled it well," said Woodberry. "MLS is a very athletic league, so I feel like, especially Portland, was a different challenge for me rather than just coming on in other games."
Looking at his two chalkboards from last week he certainly held his own against a speedy and very athletic team in Portland and again on Saturday against a determined D.C. United team that has a former MVP in Dwayne De Rosario playing up front against him.
On Wednesday against Portland he had his hands full with guys like Ryan Johnson, Darlington Nagbe and Federic Piquionne. He had two defensive blocks, eight interceptions and three clearances.
Against D.C., he had three defensive blocks, one interception and five clearances on the day.
His passing was solid in both games as well. On Wednesday he only committing eight bad passes in the entire game (compared to his 20 passes that were good), on Sunday it was more of the same with 31 good passes to just eight bad.
To me the best part of his play was that at times I didn't notice him out there. For a young player to be in such a key spot on the field like center back, he didn't try to wow anyone. He just went out, did his job and helped the club remain unbeaten at home on the season.
The big test will come this weekend, should John not be able to go again, will he get his third straight start and the first one on the road? Time will tell but at least we know this, he's getting big minutes. Hyndman said following the D.C. game that they know they'll be losing players soon for upcoming World Cup Qualifiers and Gold Cup games, with John and possibly Zach Loyd in the mix for the Gold Cup, getting these minutes for Woodberry was huge as he'll already have some tough moments out of the way.