Unfortunately for FC Dallas fans, the off-season began a bit quicker than expected with that wild-card round loss to the New York Red Bulls to kick off the postseason with a truly resounding thud at Pizza Hut Park.
But now that the off-season is officially over two weeks old, it’s officially time to address one of the more lingering questions surrounding this team-will captain Daniel Hernandez return for one more season wearing the armband, will he call it quits and begin what figures to be a long and productive career in coaching or the front office once he officially hangs up his boots. or will he move on to another club perhaps even on in Mexico?
This question arose when rumors surfaced yesterday about Hernandez returning o Mexico, said rumors received some validation when Hernandez tweeted something about not knowing where he would play in 2012.
Here’s a look at both sides of the coin.
He wants one more shot at the thing that still eludes him
When one says the thing that eludes Hernandez, we’re naturally talking about a championship. The Tyler native and SMU product has come oh so close on several occasions to winning an MLS Cup. Actually he’s been to the league final some five times-once with the Galaxy, three times with the Revolution and one more time with FCD in 2010, but each time has been on the short end of things.
So, there’s no denying that wanting to taste championship glory before he calls his playing career to a close remains something that drives the current Dallas captain. Given that this current FCD roster for the most part was the same group that contended for a title just one year ago, why shouldn’t he feel like they’ve got at least one more run in them?
He still loves the game, his teammates and playing for Schellas Hyndman
For those who don’t know the story, the relationship between Hernandez and Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman is one that dates back to Daniel’s time playing under Hyndman on the Hilltop at SMU. The two remained close friends after he had left the Mustangs, so when the opportunity for him to play for FCD several years back arose, it was a no-brainer for him to join the club, especially considering his history with Hyndman.
But it’s also abundantly clear that Hernandez not only loves playing for Hyndman and the FCD organization, but he also loves his teammates. Even though their form dipped a bit in 2011, this remains a pretty close room and the captain deserves a great deal of the responsibility for his integral role in helping to get everyone on the same page. He is an excellent conduit between the players and Hyndman and with no heir to the captaincy currently in place, he figures to have at least one more year in that capacity.
The last two years have taken a huge toll on him physically
It was no secret that for much of the second half of the season that Hernandez’s knee was again giving him considerable trouble. He had knee surgery during last off-season after he experienced similar issues in a season where FCD made it all the way to MLS Cup. And while it was originally floated that he would again have surgery this fall, news has now surfaced that Hernandez won’t need surgery for a second straight year and that’s a good sign.
Still, he is 35 and considering the physical and hard-nosed style he plays, Hernandez has taken a huge number of knocks and fouls over the last few years and when you add in the cumulative effect of all those years he has played, including his time in Mexico’s first division, the accumulation of all those beatings has to be pretty sizeable, but will it be enough for him to decide he’s ready to begin a new stage in life?
Dallas decides to go in a different direction at captain
Now this scenario is highly unlikely to happen but it’s still worth putting out there. As sports fans, we’ve seen things play out like this on numerous occasions. A veteran guy who has given his blood, sweat and tears most times literally to a team but whose performance has dipped a bit is sent packing since the club wants to get a bit younger at that position.
And there’s no doubt that Hernandez’s performance in the middle of the park wasn’t as good in 2011, especially in the second half, as it had been last year before the hamstring injury he suffered against New York last September. Even with his longtime relationship with Hyndman, the Soccer Sensei has to realize that the end is almost near when it comes to Daniel’s time wearing the armband. But with no viable candidate on the roster to replace him at captain other than fellow SMU product Ugo Ihemelu, is that a move that Hyndman would be willing to make at this time?
Daniel Hernandez Tweets from Monday
hmmm, don't know man! Not sure where I'll b yet. That's all I can say!
my priority is to stay at home w FCD, but unfortunately, its not up to me!
guys, its ok. Don't know where all the rumors came from bout me goin to Mex, but we r trying to work it out for me to stay-Hope