BY MIKE DONOVAN
Walker Zimmerman made his first appearance for FC Dallas Saturday, 113 days after being selected in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft. The Furman product came on as a late sub in the club’s 2-1 victory over DC United.
The centerback had sustained a groin injury in the preseason and his recovery had taken longer than originally expected. With Zimmerman seeing the field, every player selected in the top-13 of January’s draft has played at least one MLS game.
Zimmerman’s cameo is an important step as he works his way back into the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team picture. Zimmerman had been captain of the team before being sidelined by injury.
Here are some more news and notes from around the Western Conference heading into MLS Week Twelve action:
Just two days after arriving on loan from Chivas Guadalajara, Martin Ponce made his MLS debut in the Goats 3-0 loss to the Portland Timbers on Sunday. The 20-year-old played the final 31 minutes of the match and forced a save in his debut.
Ponce played for his native Mexico in the 2009 U-17 World Cup and is one of four Chivas USA players who competed for Mexico at the youth level.
The Rapids currently have two players that have started every match this season for the club and head coach Oscar Pereja is thinking about giving rookie Dillon Powers and 13-year veteran Brian Mullan a night off in the near future.
Powers has been a rookie revelation for the club, playing 930 minutes so far in 2013, by far, the most of any rookie. The 35-year-old Mullan, on the other hand, has provided a steady, veteran presence for the club, who finds itself in fourth in the Western Conference standings.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
Gyasi Zardes, who signed with LA as a Homegrown player in December, scored his first career goal on Saturday in the Galaxy’s 3-1 loss to Vancouver. Zardes came into the match as a second-half sub and made his mark in just his third career game. Zardes in the second consecutive Homegrown Galaxy player to score his first goal in Vancouver, joining Jose Villareal, who pulled the feat last year.
Portland’s unbeaten away record will be put to the test as the team embarks on a three-game road trip, starting with Saturday’s match with Cascadia Cup rival Vancouver Whitecaps. The Timbers are the only MLS team this season that has yet to lose away from home.
REAL SALT LAKE
Four players returned to training Wednesday for RSL after dealing with a series of injuries and illnesses. Out of the four, midfielder Cole Grossman has missed the most amount of time, having been out since sustaining a concussion on March 23.
Nat Borchers (flu) and Robbie Findley (knee) also returned to full training, while Alvaro Saborio participated for the first time since tearing a quad muscle in April.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
While four players were suspended by the MLS for upcoming matches, Marvin Chavez of the San Jose Earthquakes had his two-game suspension reduced to one match by commissioner Don Garber. Garber overruled an earlier MLS Disciplinary Decision that handed Chavez a two-game suspension for elbowing Logan Emory on May 8.
With Chavez getting his suspension reduced, he is eligible for the club’s Saturday match against the Colorado Rapids. The Rapids will be without Edson Buddle, who was suspended for the match by the committee. The return of Chavez could provide a boost for San Jose, who are undefeated in the four matches Chavez has played in this season.
After struggling in the early parts of the season, Seattle has rounded into form, winning three of its last four matches. One major factor has been players returning from injury. Designated Player Obafemi Martins, who has been dealing with a knee injury, made a substitute appearance and scored a goal in the Sounders 4-0 victory over San Jose.
When Russell Teibert scored his first two professional goals in the Whitecaps Saturday victory over the LA Galaxy, the goals had extra meaning, as they came in front of his mom and other family members. The 20-year-old Ontario native entered the game only after Daigo Kobayashi sustained an ankle injury early in the first half of the match.
Teibert became the first former member of the Whitecaps Residency Program to score for the club since they joined MLS in 2011.
If RSL can get healthy they could be pretty good. They have been pretty inconsistent to this point, but with all the injuries it is easy to see why, and yet they are still in decent position within the conference and the youngsters are gaining in confidence…