In a bit of a surprise, rookie Fatai Alashe was included in the San Jose Earthquakes starting eleven against FC Dallas on Sunday.
The talented defensive midfielder had missed the Quakes previous game, a 3-1 loss at Toronto FC, while on duty with the U.S. U-23 men's national team for the Toulon tournament in France. He had featured prominently in the invitational event, and it was expected that he would play a role in the tournament's third place match earlier in the day.
Instead, he was already back in San Jose a few days early, as Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear called Alashe back to the club ahead of the weekend.
Against Toronto, Alashe's bite was missing in the midfield, as both Khari Stephenson and JJ Koval manned the midfield for San Jose. Toronto looked the better team on that day, with forward Sebastian Giovinco putting in a man of the match performance for the Reds. Giovinco was rewarded with the MLS Player of the Week award for his exploits.
Alashe has made 10 appearances for the Earthquakes, nine of them starts, to start his rookie season. He scored the first goal in Avaya Stadium history when the Quakes defeated the Chicago Fire in their home opener.
The U.S. U-23 squad will compete this fall in qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Alashe is expected to be an integral part of that team, one that will be trying to make the Olympics after missing out on the London games four years earlier.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. FC Dallas Starting Eleven