FC Dallas central defender Duilio Davino was back on the practice pitch at Pizza Hut Park on Tuesday for the first time in a month and he will probably see time in Thursday's match with the Colorado Rapids.
Davino suffered a uniquely painful injury to his left foot, an avulsion fracture to his big toe that has forced him to miss four games.
His return is timely for the FCD defensive backline since Adrian Serioux took his physical defensive play back to Canada for international duty this week. Dallas is likely to bring Drew Moor over to the right side as Serioux's fill-in and call upon veteran Bobby Rhine or youngster Blake Wagner to work the left defensive flank. Davino will most likely set up alongside Aaron Pitchkolan, whose steady play in the middle completes the back line.
During Davino's absence, the Hoops have won only once and suffered two costly losses to the Columbus Crew. While the captain was has been on the mend, Dallas has surrendered five goals in the last three games.
FCD now sits in fourth place in the Western Conference, out of the playoff picture. Boss Schellas Hyndman knows well that his team must improve to third place in the West to make the playoffs, as the Eastern Conference will most certainly deliver five powerful teams of its own.
Fans' expectations of a playoff run have risen significantly for Dallas with the recent acquisitions of striker Jeff Cunningham and midfielder Victor Sikora. Cunningham has delivered two electrifying goals for FCD since arriving from Toronto, while Dutchman Sikora joined Davino on the injured list two weeks ago with a torn meniscus.
This Thursday, FCD has a chance to get back in the win column when Colorado Rapids pay a visit to Pizza Hut Park. Dallas insiders know Davino's leadership among the younger midfielders and defenders around him will be necessary if the Hoops are to get back on the road to the playoffs.