CARSON, Calif. – FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman calls Sunday’s Western Conference Championship (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2) the biggest game he’s ever played against his former club, the LA Galaxy. However, when he takes the field at the Home Depot Center, he will be playing in pain.
“Yeah, only when I kick dead balls off the ground,” Hartman told MLSsoccer.com on Saturday. “I’ve realized that technically I use my MCL a lot to kick a dead ball maybe more so than a lot of people do.”
That right MCL was injured on the infamous Thierry Henry incident back on Sept. 16 when the New York Red Bulls Frenchman kicked the ball away in celebration of a goal, rattling Hartman’s knee as the goalkeeper looked to retrieve the ball back.
Although Hartman may need to request a teammate to help him with goal kicks on Sunday, he wants to try to handle them himself because of the impact that it has on his team’s defensive organization.
“I’d like to give it a chance because we’re out of shape at that point when we have someone else come back and do it,” Hartman said. “I’m trying to push along with it.”
FCD captain Daniel Hernandez took goal kicks in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals vs. Real Salt Lake, and defender Jair Benitez assumed those duties in the second leg.