FRISCO, Texas — FC Dallas right back Reggie Cannon played a total of 180 minutes last season, all of which came in two Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matches.
This year, Cannon, 20, has been the man FC Dallas relies on. He’s grown as a player on both sides of the pitch with the additional minutes, figuring out the proper times to attack and defend and becoming one of the better right backs in Major League Soccer.
However, after training Wednesday, Cannon said the 2,199 minutes he’s played across all competitions in 2018 has taken a toll.
“It’s warm today,” Cannon said when asked about training. “I’m kind of feeling the toll of the games building up right now. Just trying to get through that and get ready for the game Saturday, but this is the first time this year that I kinda felt fatigued. I don’t want to [sink] my game. I want to keep my game at the highest point because you never know what could happen, so I just gotta keep going.”
Cannon was supposed to participate in the MLS Homegrown game Tuesday, which was part of MLS All-Star week in Atlanta and ended in a 1-1 draw against Tigres UANL’s under-20 side, but he elected not to attend. He wanted to get some rest and continue training with the team as it prepares for a home match against San Jose at 8 p.m. ET Saturday.
“Honestly, I watched a bit of the game last night and it’s Tigres U20s,” Cannon said. “For some players, it’s required to take that step to the next level, but for me personally — Oscar talked to me about it. He thinks that’s not smart for me, as many games as I’m playing. I don’t think it’s a smart decision, and I don’t think it elevates my game anymore. I think I made the right decision to stay.”
When asked about Cannon’s workload, Pareja Emphasized the importance of Cannon to the squad’s goal of winning MLS Cup.
“We’ll see,” Pareja said of whether Cannon’s workload was too much. “We have a responsibility to qualify first for the playoffs and we need to concentrate on that.”
There are multiple options for Dallas if Pareja did rest Cannon for a match. Ryan Hollingshead and Kris Reaves can both play right back, if needed, but neither play that position primarily. However, one player slowly picking up steam is Bryan Reynolds, a homegrown who is being converted from a forward position.
“Reynolds is doing great, seriously,” Pareja said. “I thought it was one of our highlights during our trainings, just seeing how he is growing in the spot, tactically, physically — but the most important thing is his confidence. He’s embracing the position and idea. He’s doing very well.”
Reynolds received plenty of praise from Cannon as he came off the pitch after training, and some tips from Jacori Hayes as the two headed into the locker room. It’s been a tough transition for Reynolds, but he’s looked more confident and comfortable lately.
“Reggie has to be careful because Bryan is better than him,” Pareja said with a laugh. “I joke with Reggie a lot on that part, but Reynolds is pushing and Reggie is a fantastic leader. He has become a great leader in our team despite his age. … It’s very neat to see that.”