Dallas Soccer: Schellas Hyndman

FC Dallas injury update: a mixed bag on the news front

June, 5, 2012
6/05/12
11:00
AM CT
After taking last Thursday and Friday off from training, FC Dallas returned to the practice field in Frisco on Monday morning and besides Blas Perez and Carlos Rodriguez, both of whom are with the Panamanian national team, there were several other players absent from the session. Here’s a breakdown from FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman.

M/F Fabian Castillo (sprained left ankle)

Castillo has been recently sidelined with some ankle issues but the good news is he’s returned to the practice field.

Hyndman’s Take: He’s fine. He’s training again.

CB Ugo Ihemelu (concussion symptoms)

Hyndman had said last week before the U.S. Open Cup loss to Charlotte that the team was giving their current captain some pills to help with his headaches. Here’s an update:

Hyndman’s Take: I think they made some progress but still, he didn’t train today.

CB George John (left USOC game early as precaution)

John had left the USOC loss to Charlotte during the first half as a precaution as it was thought he might have a concussion. However, it appears he has no symptoms, another bit of good news for Dallas.

Hyndman’s Take: George, seems to be all right but again, precautionary. So we’ll make some decisions on that as well.

CB Zach Loyd (see George John)

Like John, Loyd also left the Open Cup loss in the first half as a precaution with a potential concussion. But the major difference between his and Big George’s situation is that Loyd required stitches while John did not.

Hyndman’s Take: Zach got quite a few stitches, I think 20 stitches across the eye, so it was a pretty bad cut. The swelling has gone down obviously quite a bit. Stitches come out tomorrow. We were also a little concerned there might have been some phase of concussion, so what we did today was just let him work a little bit in tennis shoes and on fitness depending on if there was any throbbing pain or anything but he seemed to have gotten through it OK. From what he’s telling me, he doesn’t really have any of those symptoms, so I think he’s going to be all right.

M Brek Shea (turf toe)

Besides serving a three-game suspension after kicking a ball at a referee, Shea has also recently been bothered by a rather nasty case of turf toe. Hyndman offers an update, which might cast his availability for the next game on June 16 at Houston into some doubt.

Hyndman’s Take: Brek’s not training yet. We’re hoping for about another week. He’s out there jogging a little bit, so he’s out of his boot. That’s a good sign.

FC Dallas starting training earlier beginning this week

June, 4, 2012
6/04/12
11:46
PM CT
By no means is FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman predictable. But in his time on the job as FCD’s head coach one thing he’s done consistently as the rises in North Texas is start his training sessions earlier to avoid such heat. Monday marked the first time he has done so this season, with the session beginning at 9 a.m. and over just after 11. Here’s more from the gaffer on the change.

“We had two scenarios. If we had won against Charlotte, that would have given us more playing time," Hyndman said. "We wouldn’t have been able to take Thursday and Friday off because we would have had a game again on Tuesday. And then after that game, we would have moved it up. Since that game didn’t go the way we wanted it to go, we just moved it up right away to give the guys last Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday off. So that’s four days and then today we had a wonderful overcast so we had a good, hard training today.”

Season tests Schellas Hyndman's endurance

June, 2, 2012
6/02/12
6:42
PM CT
I would assume that somewhere along the way you've seen the now infamous video of then Dallas Cowboys punter Mike Saxson administrating a swift kick to Schellas Hyndman's most sensitive of areas. Saxson looks so hesitant as he swings and connects, but tough 'ol Schellas barely moves.

It is a shocking demonstration of his mind power over his body's pain. It established the man as one tough, if not crazy, cookie and someone not only willing to trust his mind, but put his manhood on the line -- literally and figuratively

Since Tuesday night's U.S. Open Cup loss there has been plenty of discussion over the ever-rising temperature of Coach Hyndman's seat. That sound you hear is the small, but growing crowd of unhappy fans who are outfitted with pitchforks, torches and cries for Schellas' head on a stick. Several would like their own shot at a swift kick.

Its way too early to fire the man, but there are some fair points to be made for and against this tenure. Hyndman has taken FC Dallas to places its never been. He has also made a big bet on 2012 that now looks like a discarded, losing scratch off card laying on the concrete outside a 7-Eleven.

First, look at the positive. Hyndman has taken the team to its first MLS Cup and Champions League, given MLS its first win in Mexico and most importantly fielded a team that played attacking, involving soccer. Under his tenure FCD's youth academy has racked up accolades.

For 2012, he also made some solid decisions to build up the ends of the formation that struggled in 2011. In attack, the signing of Blas Perez was the envy of MLS. Hyndman's moves to increase the depth of the backline has also paid off with what looks to be a tremendous future of Matt Hedges and Hernan Pertuz. George John's return to the club has been welcomed as John has shown off a new level of play, and Ugo has been equally solid (but a serious question of his latest concussion begs the question of just where his career sits).

That brings us to the sad state of today.

In spite of all the twists, turns, injuries, suspensions and otherwise, 2012 largely comes down to Hyndman's decision to push his chips "all in" on his three center midfielders. Ferriera, Hernandez and Jacobson. It was a risky bet -- high risk, high reward -- with each returning from some level of injury that required surgery.

With David you have a former MLS MVP who hadn't seen the field in almost a year. The broken ankle, the Achilles injury in Orlando, the repeated extension of his rehab. There has quietly been some serious concern that what really ails David is not near his feet, but in his head. There's also the talk that a rift was created between the club and the player in how the team doctors treated his original injury and the fact that it required a later second surgery. No matter the situation, David hasn't played soccer in 14 months and counting. A return even for the next match is likely too late to salvage the season. His return earlier in the season was vital to making sure not only the attack worked but helped buffer the return of the next two parts of Hyndman's bet.

In Daniel's case, he is a player with a ton of miles, age and not his first knee repair. Watching him struggle to chase youthful, faster opponents like RSL's Will Johnson is not fun for fans of the club or the player. Daniel's loss of pace has forced him to turn up the tough and rely on tactics (i.e.: fouls) that have lead not only to suspensions, but putting opponents in optimal places for restarts.

As for Jacobson, not only is he a player that is still establishing his place in the MLS hierarchy, but he too was coming off knee surgery and struggled mightily in the start of the campaign. Even if much of AJ's struggles are tied to how much he is having to help cover for Daniel, the the jury is still out on if AJ is of MLS starting quality. He still turns the ball over way to easily, but then there are flashes of skill and tactical vision that may hint to better things.

Maybe the most damning issue for Hyndman is how his bet on these three wasn't buffered with any real pick ups to protect the midfield in case one, two or all three of the above faltered -- which is exactly what happened.

To cover the time in David's absence was Ricardo Villar. A fine player, but by all reasonable measurements not a player that could ever lead full time FCD from that attacking mid spot. Villar had started more than enough matches before his injury for everyone to know he could never be a full time replacement. Sure, Villar was never supposed to start for more than a few weeks, but that also is exactly what happened.

Of course all of that became moot when Ricardo, too, was hurt and has now missed 10 league matches and is on course to miss up to three more. Behind him? Hyndman staffed no one.

Behind Daniel and AJ? Bobby Warshaw and Bruno Guarda. The former may end up someday being a fine MLS player but he isn't in 2012 -- and the latter, Guarda? This is a guy who's place on the roster is about as mysterious as it gets.

Warshaw is also now hurt, and his injury lead to the signing of James Marcelin, a player who's brief time filling in for Dallas leaves no question as to why a struggling Portland dumped him.

This year is even littered with the decisions of last season. Moves that haunt today -- trading away away Eric Alexander and Eric Avila. While Barry Gorman has his scent all over these moves it's hard to see a scenario where Hyndman is holding his breath in refusal to let them go -- and it still happens. Oh, while we're dog-piling, don't forget the move to trade off Martin Chavez sits squarely on Schellas' shoulders. Along with the hope that Ruben Luna would blossom has continued to wither, and Scott Sealy's addition has been a real dud.

So, while Dallas is better off than previous seasons at forward, the reality is that they are only one player deep.

Hyndman supporters will defend the man that "injuries can't be predicted" and the suspensions are the fault of the players. Truth is injuries should be expected. The suspensions are the result of frustrated players failing to adhere to Hyndman's mandate of emotional intelligence, something the coach is responsible for instilling.

So many good things have happened to this club since the Hunts finally convinced Schellas to take over. No matter how bad this season gets, none of that should be forgotten. The reality is that the likelihood of the Hunt family canning Schellas is very low. They paid him a fine fortune to make the move and are personally tied to him outside of the club. It's a consensus of those close to the team that Hyndman is more likely to fire himself before someone does it for him.

Not sure that 2012 yet has been the equal test of mental strength of Saxson's kick. But it has to hurt, especially because much of it has been caused by that losing bet.

A bet that Schellas made.
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FCD Head Coach Schellas Hyndman

Opening thoughts on the game:

"I thought we came out prepared to play. A couple pretty severe injuries came up. You lose George [John] and Zach [Loyd] in eight minutes. I think it affected us so much so that it gave up the goal, and it might have even been their first shot on goal. I thought that Charlotte did the things that they needed to do to come away with a victory. Every time we tried to do something, we might have been our own worst enemy. I'm disappointed because I thought this was a really good opportunity to get back on track and get results. I'm disappointed, obviously, because it has Lamar Hunt's name on the trophy. I'm disappointed in our performance. I think a fan said it best, when we were coming off the field. He said the outcome was unacceptable. That was an unacceptable performance by our players."

On how the team has continually appeared to have bad luck throughout the season:

"You keep thinking that the ball bounces wrong, when we had two chances to score on that one flurry. We knocked some good balls across there, but we're just not doing enough. I have to believe that you make your own luck. Isn't it interesting that the guy who scores on the header is alone, and the guy who was supposed to mark him didn't? It's not about getting the right call or getting lucky, it's about making your own luck. We just had a poor performance."

On the few positives the team showed:
"I think we had some players that did well. I thought Jair Benitez played extremely well today. We had to move him from the left side, where he was very dominant, to the right side. Moises [Hernandez] came in and I wanted him to be in his comfort zone. He did fine for not getting a lot of playing time with us. Another one of the players that I thought did well was [Matt] Hedges. It wasn't the same performance that he has had over the past two games, but he is playing along with Andew Jacobson very well. Again, Andrew Jacobson did very well in the first half. He made things happen."

On if the upcoming break can help the team:

"It's not only the best thing for the team, it's the best thing for the coaches. The coaches have put in a lot of time and energy, and the players have put in a lot of work. The reality is a lot of those guys haven't been playing. I don't know if they were mentally tired, or if they just couldn't keep the pace up. We still have 19 games left in the MLS, so I think what we need to do right now is get some points and do things right."

On Jackson's red card:

"You know, you look at emotional intelligence. Jackson worked awfully hard. It was a nothing situation to get a red card on. If you're going to get a red card, there's a level on which that card should look like. It could be something silly or a hard play, but not to take a break and go get a shower. It's not worth that."

FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz

On losing two defenders in the first half to injury:

“It’s not one of those things where you look at as two players going off. For us it’s one of those things where we try to get the new guys involved in the game as quickly as possible. They get their first touch and we move on. It’s not one of those things you can really take a breath and be like, ‘Darn, they’re off the field.’ You don’t get that second. It’s all playing from there and you do the best you can. At the end of the day, we have a goal and we gave up, what? Two shots the whole game? And they scored two goals. We didn’t do our jobs today. We came out here and had probably one of our worst games. Now we have quite a while to rebuild and work hard. It’s one of those things where we have to come back stronger and there are no excuses.”

On the frustration of the first half of the season:

“It’s definitely been rough. It’s been one of those things where we’ve been in a lot of the games and we just haven’t been able to get the result. There’s really no sort of excuse to put out there for it. It’s one of those things where all we can really do is continue to work and come in here on those days we’ve got coming up and really put in the work to help us start turning some of those losses into ties and some of those ties into wins.”

On hitting the reset button for the second half:

“It’s one of those things where we have to work hard on both sides of the ball. Obviously, we’ve been giving up quite a few goals so we’re going to be working on our defensive shape. Coach gave us a good analogy the other day. We used to be a team that refused to lose and we’ve got to get a little bit of that back and really just push forward. We need to forget about what has already happened because there’s nothing we can do about it. We really need to get out there and make the most of every opportunity that we have.”

Head Coach Mark Steffens

“We’ve had a relatively tough season this year so far. We’ve had a ton of injuries. We’ve had guys come in late with visa problems and on and on. So we are finally getting our team together and we have played a lot better the last 10 days or so.”
“We feel like we are improving, so we knew it would be a tough battle. Obviously we didn’t think we would play with them; match-up straight up with them, so we definitely defended hard and then they’d block and we’d try and counter them a little here and there. They definitely had the better of the possession by quite a bit, but we’re real fortunate that we came out with a victory.”

On the two goals scored:

“Darryl Roberts is a really good finisher. He’s been hurt most of the season. He’s only played in about four games for us. So when he gets opportunities he puts them on frame, so that’s why we give him the ball in the box and we feel good about him putting stuff on frame or in goal when he gets the opportunity so he did that.”
“Then they were pushing up late in the game and we got it to Darryl again and he’s the one who beat one guy and slithered it across to an open runner, Nate Thorton. It was nothing more than being able to get that chance. You know, it was really only a one-nothing game.”

On Keeper Clinton Irwin’s performance:

“He’s really coming on strong. El Paso was his first game for us and he shut them out as well, so he’s really doing well as a first-year pro.”
“He helps us out because if you give up an early goal, which we have a lot this year, that kind of a mistake can flatten the whole team. So it’s really important you have a keeper who can come up with one or two big saves to keep you in the match.”
“He’s really been our second keeper all year. Our first keeper, Eric Reed, is just as good, so we feel fortunate to have two great keepers.”

Goalkeeper Clinton Irwin

“I thought we defended really well. We knew we were going to be under a lot of pressure, especially at the end of the game. We had had four games in ten days and it had started to take its toll. I think FC Dallas kind of had the same schedule, so we just battled together and defended well.”
“You get your hands on the ball in the first couple of minutes and you just get comfortable in there. After every save you just gain more and more confidence. The ball gets huge and the goal looks smaller and smaller for the forwards. It’s definitely a good feeling to have.”

On his contribution to the Eagles:

“I haven’t thought a lot about it, but I just wanted to do well and do my job. A lot of the credit has to go to the way we scored our goals. You know Darryl and Nate had two excellent finishes on our two clear-cut chances and that’s what you have to do. The next level is just be clinical with your chances.”

Daniel Hernandez, Brek Shea out for Open Cup

May, 28, 2012
5/28/12
11:03
PM CT
FC Dallas opens play in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday night at FC Dallas Stadium against the Charlotte Eagles of USL Pro. However, FCD will be at less than full strength, which has been the norm all season.

Midfielder Brek Shea, who just finished serving a three-game suspension in league play after kicking a ball at an official, has been ruled out for the game as he continues to be bothered by turf toe. The Bryan native did not train on Monday morning, first riding a stationary bike and then doing some work with an exercise band before leaving the field with his left foot in a boot.

“Still banged up a little bit,” Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said when asked about Shea’s condition. “I think what happens when you have something like a turf toe, a normal thing to do is you try to play through the pain. And when you try to do that, because you’re protecting it, you start to alienate something else so maybe a different part of his foot now is becoming an issue. Yeah, he won’t play tomorrow night.”

Fellow midfielder Daniel Hernandez also won’t play on Tuesday but for a different reason. The former FCD captain earned a red card in Dallas’ lost at Seattle in the 2011 USOC semifinals and won’t be available for selection.

“He’s gone through three games in eight days. He’s not playing tomorrow because of the red card he got in Seattle,” Hyndman said.

Central attacking midfielder Ricardo Villar will also not play as he continues to recover from a foot injury suffered back in April. However, Tuesday may or may not mark the return of Fabian Castillo, the speedy Colombian who has missed the last few games with an ankle issue.

Castillo did go through training on Monday morning on the stadium field but did so with his left ankle wrapped. “We’ll make a decision whether we’re going to start him or have him off the bench but he’s probably about 85 percent,” Hyndman said.

Schellas Hyndman talks US Open Cup

May, 28, 2012
5/28/12
3:52
PM CT
On Tuesday night, FC Dallas opens play in the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup against the Charlotte Eagles of USL Pro. Here’s more on the tournament in general and on FCD’s first opponent from Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman:

Discuss your general thoughts on the U.S. Open Cup and the meaning attached to it.

Hyndman: Well, it’s one of the things we talked about in our meeting today, was this is a fantastic event not just because it’s another competition. It’s also a situation where it’s named after our previous owner, Lamar Hunt. It’s the recognition our country’s given to a man that has done so much for soccer and it means a lot to our ownership and it means a lot to our club and our fans that we honor this opportunity. It’s also we get into a situation where you win the Open Cup, it gives you a direct route into CONCACAF [Champions League]. This is the first year they’ve gone away from a bidding system. Last three years, teams like Seattle would always bid high, hosted the game and giving themselves every opportunity to win. Now it’s a situation, it’s a little bit more even for everyone.

What do you know about the Charlotte Eagles?

Hyndman: I don’t know really that much about them. John Ellinger went out, got a chance to see them, scouted them when they played in El Paso last week I think. Our reports are basically they’re a team that are fighters. They’ve got a couple difference makers and obviously this game will be a big game for them because they’re playing inside an MLS complex and they want to be measured. So they’re very excited about it.

Charlotte features a local product, Scott Jones, who also spent some time with FCD. Did you ever recruit him to play for you at SMU and if so, what kind of player is he?

Hyndman: Yeah, he was always a decent player that we had our vision on and somebody we thought would be a good player to keep at home. He’s a solid player. He’s got an excellent work rate, good technical player. I think this is one of those games we’ll definitely see his best for all the home environment, all those types of things.
FC DALLAS COACH SCHELLAS HYNDMAN:

On the overall performance of his team:

“I got a lot out of the team tonight; disappointing last goal, there was a lot of physical play out there, a lot of bodies. I thought that we had done enough to come away with a point.”

On if the game could be encouraging in any way:

“Well, there was some good play from Jackson and from Perez, basically they are the only two who are attacking and the rest of the guys are filling holes right now. It is encouraging to come back twice and to not give up and to see the fight that our guys put out there.”

FC DALLAS GOALKEEPER KEVIN HARTMAN:

On if tonight’s performance was encouraging for FC Dallas:

“Yeah, certainly we can find the silver lining. The most disappointing thing for us is that we worked so hard for so long and to leave again without any points, you feel like a little piece of you dies every time you lose a game. It’s been a rough patch for us and it’s easy to point fingers and it’s easy to blame, but at the end of the day we all have to raise our level.”

On the difference between the first and second half of the match:

“Obviously once they scored then we had to begin attacking a little bit more. Once we scored the first there was a little bit of a belief that we were going to be able to get a second. Maybe the altitude plays a factor, maybe guys zone out a little bit and before you know it we’ve conceded a second.”

FC DALLAS DEFENDER ZACH LOYD

On the overall performance of FC Dallas:

“We showed a lot of character coming back when we went down 1-0 and then went down 2-1 and came back. Unfortunately, we couldn’t sustain and keep the tie. At the end of the day we dropped another three points and it’s frustrating.”

On what’s coming up for FC Dallas:

“We’ve got two weeks now to rest and really work on stuff. Hopefully the second half of the season we’ll make a push and hopefully make a playoff spot.”

On what FC Dallas needs to work on during the layoff:

“I think the most important thing is to get guys back, get guys healthy, we have a lot of injuries. I think the main thing as far as the back line goes is that we’ve given up way too many goals so far this season. We need to really get on the same page and start getting some shutouts.”

Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis

On the Match:

“To be a season ticket holder right now…we’re giving them their money’s worth for sure. Another crazy game tonight, FC Dallas played really hard, there was no give up in them and that made our night difficult for sure. I am very pleased to get the three points against what I think is a very difficult opponent. When you’re missing guys like Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, Javi Morales and Wingert..Four very strong leaders…to be without them and have the guys react how they did is a very good sign.”

On Tanaka, Reynish, and Alvarez:

“All three did well. Obviously, Tanaka assisted on the first goal, which was a very nice cross on his part. He did well to get around his defender. I thought he had a strong performance, Yordany I thought had a pretty strong night, especially in the first half. I thought he was breaking up a ton of plays in the midfield, and was in the right spot a lot of times. He still can be a little bit cleaner on the ball for me. I think that we will have a good chance to see improvement from him with Open Cup. Renyish had a strong night. Unfortunate that he didn’t make that save that was a goal line decision. I thought he did well with that play. On the 2nd goal, I think he probably needed to do better, but those things I think come from playing more. I think he’s probably pretty relieved going around patting all the rest of the fellas on the back, especially Borchers.”

On Saborio:

“I’m really pleased with Sabo. I know it’s been a difficult stretch that he hasn’t been scoring with the way that he would like, or the fans would like, but he’s been putting in the work, so I’m appreciative that he continues to work hard and take those chances.”

Real Salt Lake FW Alvaro Saborio

On RSL taking the lead multiple times:

“Dallas is good team. We just tried to make the first one and then hopefully win from there. The last one was a great goal at the last minute and I was happy for Borchers.”

About scoring twice before leaving to Costa Rica for international duty:

“I’m happy about the game and scoring twice and I am thinking now I’m going to do a better job in Costa Rica. We will see what happens there.”

Real Salt Lake DF Nat Borchers

On the match:

“It was a roller coaster 2nd half. We felt 1-0 wouldn’t be a good enough win for us. Credit to them, they pushed forward and scored two goals on us. That was our only option to get that third goal. My hat is to our front two Fabi and Sabo who really battled hard during the whole game and wore them down and got them tired and created a lot of chances for us. I thought Yordany had a really strong game, and Tanaka had a really good game as well.”

Real Salt Lake MF Ned Grabavoy

On Borchers’ goal:

“ A little bit of mayhem after just two let downs, It’s frustrating to keep giving up leads, so it’s crazy to react that quickly and go for it and get it back. I think it’s great to show that our team can win games that way.”

Five quick hits for Real Salt Lake game

May, 26, 2012
5/26/12
10:24
AM CT
Now that the Brimstone Cup resides in Chicago for the first time in over a decade, FC Dallas sets its sights on ending an eight-game winless streak at a place it has never won before, Rio Tinto Stadium, on Saturday night against Real Salt Lake. Here are some points to ponder heading into this game:

A more level field? -- Salt Lake will be without Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando for this one as both starters are with the U.S. national team. But it’s not like FCD hasn’t faced RSL before without Beckerman. Yordany Alvarez will spell Beckerman, the man Dallas fans love to hate, in the central midfield while Kyle Reynish will be between the posts. However, Salt Lake was without both top striker Fabian Espindola and former MLS Defender of the Year Jamison Olave the last time these clubs played to a 1-1 draw in Frisco back in April. Still, not having Beckerman and Rimando is definitely big for FCD. In other RSL-related injury news, it looks like either defender Chris Wingert or midfielder Javier Morales won’t play. Morales will most likely be the one to return, leaving Jason Kreis’ back line without the services of Wingert.

Rio Tinto demons -- Sure, the sample size is a small one, but in regular-season matches, FC Dallas has not fared well at all at Rio Tinto Stadium since its opening, going 0-4-1 and scoring a grand total of three goals in those five matches. Of course, there is one draw among those five results and FCD did register another draw in Sandy during the 2010 playoffs, so this is far from an impossible task. But RSL’s home field advantage is one of the best in MLS and against a Dallas side that has struggled away from home to put it mildly this year means this is one streak that most likely lives on after this weekend.

Study in contrasts -- The biggest contrast in this game might be in the amount of rest each club has had. RSL hasn’t played in two weeks, last hitting the pitch on May 12 for a 1-0 win at Seattle. Since then, Dallas has already played three times and will add a fourth match in two weeks in Saturday’s tilt at Rio Tinto. Even without the services of Beckerman, RSL will be a much more crisp, well-oiled machine compared to a highly fatigued FCD side that comes into this game fresh off an emotional yet controversial 2-1 loss at Chicago on Wednesday, the first time the club had lost at Toyota Park. So the big question is how much does Dallas have left?

Light at the end -- The good news for FCD is that after Saturday’s match in the Beehive State, they won’t play again for two weeks as they get a two-week break of their own. That being said, one has to wonder what the mentality would be heading into this game. Does FCD look to end their winless streak and head into their layoff on a hugely positive note, possibly using a draw or win at RSL as a springboard to the rest of the year? Or do they see getting through the Salt Lake game as a mere necessity, a way to finally get some rest and even if their winless streak does indeed hit nine games, just get out of RSL and get some rest? Some might think the second question is more than a bit off base but it’s human nature when things aren’t going bad, especially in a team setting, that at least some members of the roster are going to see the glass half empty, just saying.

Shea’s last break -- Another good thing about Saturday’s match from a Dallas standpoint is that it will be the final game of Brek Shea’s three-game suspension. Then again, Shea wasn’t exactly at the top of his game when he was suspended. Maybe part of that was the turf toe he was battling and then again, maybe it was nothing more than a dip in form. But getting him back for the Houston game will be huge, especially since FCD has been missing something on the flanks lately. Bryan Leyva played well against Philadelphia but displayed some serious inconsistency in a forgettable performance at Chicago. Fabian Castillo didn’t even travel to the Windy City and it’s doubtful he plays on Saturday, which likely means Carlos Rodriguez or Scott Sealy gets the call on the flank likely alongside Leyva. No matter who starts at the two flank midfield spots on Saturday at Rio Tinto, it will illustrate one thing, how crucial Shea is to any success FCD is to have or not have in 2012.

Fabian Castillo not in Salt Lake; George John probable

May, 26, 2012
5/26/12
10:18
AM CT
Per the official injury report, George John is listed as probable, even after experiencing blurry vision after he was taken out of the game at Chicago on Wednesday. Here’s the official take from FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman.

“George went to the hospital. We weren’t sure if it was a mild concussion or a concussion,” Hyndman said. “He had blurry vision in his right eye. The doctor suggested that we not put him back in the game. We took him to the hospital, got CAT scans on him and things like that. Everything showed good, so he’s ready to play.”

However, the news isn’t so good on flank midfielder Fabian Castillo, who didn’t travel to the Windy City with a sprained left ankle. He will miss the Real Salt Lake game on Saturday as he did not rejoin the team.

“No, Castillo is still not with the team,” Hyndman said.

Scoring Summary:
DAL – Matt Hedges 41
CHI – Sebastian Grazzini (Marco Pappa) 45
CHI – Marco Pappa 63

FC Dallas – Chris Seitz, Jair Benitez, Matt Hedges, George John (Carlos Rodriguez 46), Zach Loyd, Bryan Leyva (Scott Sealy 72), James Marcelin (Bruno Guarda 46), Daniel Hernandez, Andrew Jacobson Jackson, Blas Perez.

Substitutes Not Used: Kevin Hartman, Victor Ulloa, Jonathan Top, Moises Hernandez.

TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Blas Perez 4);
SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Blas Perez 2);
FOULS: 15 (Andrew Jacobson, Zach Loyd 3);
OFFSIDES: 2 (Carlos Rodriguez, Andrew Jacobson 1);
CORNER KICKS: 7 (Bryan Leyva 4);
SAVES: 4 (Kevin Hartman 4).

Chicago Fire – Sean Johnson, Dan Gargan, Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares, Patrick Nyarko, Rafael Robayo, Sebastian Grazzini (Pavel Pardo 76), Logan Pause, Marco Pappa (Corben Bone 89), Dominic Oduro (Orr Barouch 59).

Substitutes Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Hunter Jumper, Danil Paladini, Federico Puppo.

TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Sebastian Grazzini 6);
SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Sebastian Grazzini 4);
FOULS: 21 (Marco Pappa 4);
OFFSIDES: 4 (Dominic Oduro 3);
CORNER KICKS: 3 (Marco Pappa 2);
SAVES: 4 (Sean Johnson 4).

Misconduct Summary:
DAL – George John (caution) 30
CHI – Dan Gargan (caution) 36
CHI – Marco Pappa (caution) 64
CHI – Orr Barouch (caution) 69
CHI – Rafael Robayo (caution) 90

Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee’s Assistants: Peter Balciunas, Kevin Klinger
4th Official: Abiodun Okulaja

Attendance: 11,947
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Sunny, 78 degrees

FC Dallas Head Coach Schellas Hyndman

On the team’s performance in the first half:

“I thought we seemed to have a bit more energy than they did, I know they played on Sunday, we played on Saturday and the trip, and playing on turf wears you down, so we wanted to come out really high and press and force their defense to make mistakes. I thought we were really doing some good things. I’m surprised it took us so long to score as it did because we were putting a lot of pressure on Anibaba and Berry in the back. But we did get a goal, we are disappointed we gave a goal up in the way we gave it up, and then of course the penalty kick, and then coming back and giving up a penalty kick. I really think the play was offside but it seems like that’s the kind of way the season has been going for us. The critical points of time, the ball’s not bouncing right and we’re not getting it done in critical times where we are making a mistake.”

On playing high pressure on defenders:

“We’re asking so much of our guys. We have nine injuries. We have four academy guys that are on the trip. We’re asking guys to help us with the one thing that they can do, and they have been doing, which is working. Our idea was to put pressure on the defense. We watched three games from Chicago, and we feel they do a great job defending, but they may not be as creative with the ball coming down the back. And without time and space, people have a tendency to make a mistake.”

On the sense of urgency or frustration that has set in to the team:

“Completely. Completely. On both levels. The urgency, you know, we played three more games than Chicago and they have more points than us. So that’s frustrating. And the other thing is the frustration. I think this is a game we could have won. But I can say this about a few of our games. I don’t know if we’re just having players getting tired, this is our third series of three games in a week, [the Fire] will feel it when they go to Columbus. You don’t get a chance to recover, and then when you get injuries, you don’t get a chance to treat things to recover. I thought the key for us was losing George John at halftime with a potential concussion. We wanted to keep it safe. That was his injury. So we’re hoping that he’ll be okay to jump back in to the game this weekend.”

On the second substitution at halftime with Guarda:

“That was a tactical substitution. We felt like we needed just a little more offensive play and Bruno Guarda came in and he’s the one that drew the penalty kick. I think tactically and with decision making we were pretty good, but I just think that there were key moments in the game where we didn’t get it done.”

On regrouping before the next match against Salt Lake:

“I’ll say this about our guys. I’m frustrated, I think the word we all use and we used it at halftime and at the end of the game, we should be pissed. Because we are giving everything we have, we’re in the game and we can’t overcome our own mistakes so we should be pissed. But we want to be and continue to be fighters. We want to show up and play good soccer. We want to put everything out there and not be victims where everything is going against us. So a lot of it is just mentality. Our injured players will come back and when they come back, we’ll be better.”

FC Dallas Defender Matt Hedges

On the importance of his goal:

“I think it was an important goal for us because we’ve been playing well all half and I think it should boost our confidence but in the end we gave up a goal a couple minutes later so it’s kind of disappointing. But the first goal, I was excited but it just wasn’t enough.”

On the team’s sense of urgency:

“Absolutely, we need to get points any way we can, a win, a tie, whatever. We have to keep working hard. We’ve been playing well but it’s not going our way. We have to start getting more points-we haven’t gotten too many points in the last seven or eight games.”

On building on the team’s play from the first half:

“We’ve had a lot of injuries and a lot of guys who don’t normally play are getting a lot of minutes so I think they’re getting good, quality experience. When we get the [starters] back, they’ll be able to help us a little more.

FC Dallas Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman

On the match:

“Obviously we are disappointed. We had our opportunity to go up in the second half. Sean Johnson made a great save on Perez’s penalty kick. It’s really disappointing. We have a game on Saturday we need to get ready for now. We have to really grab each other around the shoulders and give each other a hug and say that we have the guys and the talent and the opportunity against a really good Salt Lake team that we have a quick turn around again. We can’t really hang our heads. We have to deal with it like men and move on with it. Practices have been good and we’re just in the position now that we’re going to need someone to work a little harder and put their head in one of those 50/50 balls and maybe get a goal for us. And that might be something that will change the tide for us. I thought tonight when we had the penalty kick opportunity, I thought this is it, this is our opportunity and then Sean Johnson came up with a great save, so hats off to him.”

On the team’s performance in the first half:

“I was really content with it. I thought we didn’t give up too many opportunities, but you can’t give Grazzini a free kick from the 19 yard line. He’s just too good of a player. Maybe we were a little naďve on that. We have some new guys on the park. Zach [Loyd] comes in and plays inside and plays in the center and I don’t think Zach’s played in the center for a while. Matt’s [Hedges] just out of college, I think he’s performed very admirably. But unfortunately I think there was a lesson there maybe tonight that we can take something from this game and hopefully add it to one of the experiences of 2012 and it’ll make us a better team.”

Frank Klopas – Chicago Fire Head Coach

Comments on the match…

“Obviously just a great win for our club. I thought it was important for us being at home and coming out with a lot of energy from the beginning. We pressed higher up the field instead of waiting and going a goal down, and then starting to play. I felt that in the beginning we were a little bit flat and tired, and Dallas did a good job of really stepping high and pressing us. I thought that they were the bigger team and winning most balls. We gave up that goal, but we had a good response from the group. It’s just a huge win. We scored from behind again which shows a lot of character for the group. It’s all about the group and the team. It was a great performance and we scored the two goals and then created some more opportunities to put the game away. In the last five minutes, you have to say a couple prayers. It was just a great win for us and now we have to move on to the next match.”

On the goal by Grazzini...

“We gave up that goal in the 41st minute of the game, which is never a good time to give up the goal before going into the locker room. Sebastián scored a fantastic goal-a world class goal. Those are the type of goals that he can score with his ability. I felt that the group was positive and that the goal lifted us going into halftime. We talked more about strategy at the half and they came out with good energy and pushed hard. Sometimes it is difficult with the road trips...we came back from the trip to Portland and we had a great response from the group tonight.”

On the tendency to give up goals and having to battle back...

“I don’t know if it is a tendency. We talked about about playing from the beginning until the end and being more consistent. I was worried to see how we would start off because of the short week. It took us a little bit of time, but their goal came from nothing. From set pieces we need to get better. The positive thing is that we never gave up. The trend in this league is that the team that gives up the first goal normally does not win. I’m proud of the guys because they believe in themselves."

On scoring from set pieces and the corner kick...

“I think it helped when they went with a smaller group in the second half. George John came off with an injury, then James Marcelin came off. Then we felt pretty good with the set pieces. I don’t think that we lost one aerial battle. The key was the second balls because we were getting a little bit stretched. It’s an area that we have to keep working on.”

On Sean Johnson stopping the penalty...

“It was huge for a morale standpoint and also for him. After that save, you saw a different Sean with more confidence and command in his box. It was also important in giving the whole team new energy. It was an important moment in the game.”

On playing at Columbus on Saturday...

“It’s great because last year it was my first win as interim coach and it was really something special because normally before the games I don’t go outside the locker rooms...I’m superstitious at times and do the same routine. I knew that when they came in from the warm ups that it was great because they came back and were in awe to see the amount of fans that we had there. There was a positive feeling in the room. There has been some special players and special teams at this club. I believe that then and now. It is time to write our own history and be remembered forever, like the team in ’98. That’s what it is all about. It was a great win and it was great to see so many of our fans there. It's a difficult match-its a very good team, it's a rivalry. We’re looking forward to it. We need to assess everyone tomorrow and if we need to make some adjustments, we will. Now we have a couple days and not that long of a trip. We look forward to the match.”

Sean Johnson, Chicago Fire goalkeeper

On his PK save:

“Most importantly the save was big for the team at that point in the game to help turn things around. There was a spell there where they were putting a lot of pressure on us – they got the ball into a deep spot and we gave up the foul, which was unfortunate. We needed that stop to keep sp in the game – it’s all about making crucial saves in the game when we need them. “

On the result:

“It was a team effort tonight and we were able to put one back on the other end of the field and come away with three points.”

On his confidence after the PK save:

“It’s always good to save a big save in the game like that to help turn things around and get the team going a bit. The second half was definitely better for me personally.”

On seeing the ball on the PK save:

“I was just trying to read it and get a good jump, and once the ball was out safely then you can regroup as a team and get things back in order and organized for the next play.”

Marco Pappa, Chicago Fire midfielder

On the slow start:

“After the first half when we came into the locker room we talked about how we needed to push ourselves more in the game. We knew we had to give a better effort in the second half of the game. We had some extra motivation after Sean’s [Johnson] penalty kick save.”

On his goal:

“I always said that before the ball goes into the net that I need to find the ball and stay with it. I made the sprint and the ball came to me, and it resulted in three points for the team so I’m happy with that. The best thing for me is that if I score the winner, everybody is a winner in the locker room, it’s good to get three points. “

Chicago’s Sebastian Grazzini:

On the result:

“It was definitely difficult today because they were definitely crowding the midfield. It seemed like they were playing with three defensive midfielders and it was difficult to break through, but we were able to create some space and score in a timely manner. It was definitely a wonderful victory to have here at home. “

On his goal:

“I thought it worked out really well. I’ve been connecting a lot more with Marco [Pappa] and Rafa [Robayo] a lot and it was an excellent wall for me to place it over and put it in. I’m just happy that it came at a good time to help tie the match.”

Preview: FC Dallas at Chicago Fire

May, 22, 2012
5/22/12
8:00
PM CT
After each season series between the Chicago Fire and FC Dallas, the Brimstone Cup is awarded to the team that earns the most points.

Chicago may not even remember what the trophy looks like.

The Fire look to claim their first Brimstone Cup since it was created 11 years ago while seeking to end a five-game winless streak against struggling Dallas on Wednesday night.

Chicago captured the inaugural award in 2001 but hasn't reclaimed it since relinquishing it the following season. Dallas has gone 14-3-3 against the Fire since 2002 and 3-0-2 in the last five meetings.

This will be the only regular-season contest between these teams, meaning the winner will claim the Brimstone Cup. If the match ends in a draw, Dallas (3-6-4) will hold it for an 11th straight year.

Chicago has never beaten Dallas at Toyota Park, going 0-5-1 since it opened in 2006. Its last home victory in the series was June 12, 2005, at Soldier Field.

The Fire (4-3-3) seemingly have a good opportunity to end that skid, though.

Dallas is 0-4-3 in its last seven after a 1-all draw with Philadelphia on Saturday, last winning April 14 over Montreal. It hasn't gone this many games without a victory since a club-record 10-game stretch July 2-Sept. 10, 2005.

"I thought we played well enough to win. It's just same old story," midfielder Daniel Hernandez told the league's official website. "We can't find a way to get three points."

Dallas is 1-7-1 in its last nine road games, winning 2-1 at Chicago on Oct. 12.

The Fire are coming off a 2-1 loss at Portland on Sunday, ending a three-game unbeaten streak. After Jalil Anibaba tied the game in the 39th minute, Chicago's Logan Pause deflected a header into his own net in the 52nd minute.

"I thought that we didn't deserve to walk away with a loss," coach Frank Klopas said. "Overall, I thought it was frustrating because I feel disappointed when we lose, but when you feel that you should have walked away with points from here it's hard to take the loss."

Inconsistency has plagued a Chicago team that hasn't won consecutive games all season with an attack that has gone dormant for stretches during matches.

"We've put very good halves together, we've played very well in 60-minute stretches," defender Dan Gargan told the team's official website. "I think we're looking for a really good 90-minute performance from start to finish. That's certainly something we need to get better at."

The same goes for Dallas, which got a goal from Blas Perez in the seventh minute Saturday but little else after that. It hasn't scored a goal in the second half other than on a penalty kick since Brek Shea's tally in the 88th minute in Dallas' most recent win.

"We created some really good chances in the first half," coach Schellas Hyndman said after Saturday's match. "And then, the game just got to the point where it unfortunately got more physical than it needed to be."

Dallas has outscored Chicago 10-3 in the last five matchups.
No doubt about it, FC Dallas’ 1-1 draw with Philadelphia on Saturday night was some ugly soccer in the second half. Peter Nowak’s Union played a very physical game in the second half, being whistled for 15 of their 22 fouls after the break and finishing the night with four yellows.

But you kind of have to give the ex-Fire coach some credit; the book is in on how to take FCD off their game: foul them and foul them frequently. And until the league decides to do something about such a brand of physical play, if they ever do, that’s exactly what Dallas can expect to face almost each and every time they hit the pitch this year.

Sure, some, including coach Schellas Hyndman, ex-captain Daniel Hernandez and current leading scorer Blas Perez have some merit behind them when they gripe about the current lack of calls going their way. But no matter the sport, it seems like teams who complain the most about officiating never seem to get any calls and that theory is definitely in play here.

However, some who have already analyzed exactly what went wrong against Philly have clearly missed the point. The game turned late in the first half when Hernan Pertuz had to leave the pitch on a stretcher with what Hyndman later termed a possible foot injury. We’ll know more on Pertuz’s status going forward on Monday but when he left the game, Hyndman had no choice but to put the versatile Carlos Rodriguez out there in Pertuz’s place.

Some wondered why Hyndman wouldn't go with homegrown talent Moises Hernandez instead of Rodriguez, well the answer to that is simple. Hernandez hasn’t exactly set the world on fire in reserve games and while some might want to see what he’s got, he’s still a long way from logging minutes with the first team, plain and simple. So, a less than 100 percent Rodriguez was still a much better option than a talented yet raw Hernandez.

And once Pertuz left the field, Philly centered much of their attack on the left flank. Once again, a tactical adjustment by Nowak that allowed his side to leave Frisco with just their fourth point all year on the road.

Hyndman addressed losing Pertuz and it being a key point in the game in his postgame remarks to the media. “I think one key point was when Pertuz got hurt. It changed our defense. We weren’t as strong in the air. We weren’t as strong marking wise,” Hyndman said.

“That changed the game to the point where if you look at the number of chances that Philadelphia had late, it was normally turnovers in the back third. I thought we were doing that quite well in the first half. The moment Pertuz got hurt, I think it changed,” he said.

While this team has been rocked by a litany of injuries, suspensions and textbook boneheaded plays, one of the biggest question marks heading into this season was this club’s lack of depth. And as the saying goes, our worst fears have been realized. As Hyndman put it, when Philly decided to get physical, Dallas simply didn’t have the personnel on the bench to handle it.

But if there is a bright spot to all this it is that at least on Wednesday night in Chicago, FCD figures to have right back Zach Loyd, who missed Saturday’s game on suspension, back in the fold. Fabian Castillo could also return after Hyndman called him 70 percent on Friday even with his ankle injury. The thought of having Castillo on one flank and fellow youngster Bryan Leyva on the other is a great idea indeed and who knows, maybe FCD can continue their unbeaten run at Toyota Park and finish May with at least one win?

Hernan Pertuz out 3 to 4 weeks with a sprained ankle

May, 21, 2012
5/21/12
12:33
PM CT
According to FC Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman, versatile defender Hernan Pertúz has a sprained right ankle and will miss 3 to 4 weeks.

Pertúz injured his right ankle against Philadelphia Union on Saturday and was replaced by the just returned from injured Carlos Rodriguez.

Is FC Dallas on the verge of history?

May, 21, 2012
5/21/12
11:56
AM CT
Other than the opening of Pizza Hut Park, the 2005 season was one to pretty much forget for FC Dallas fans. Besides FCD finishing second in the Western Conference with 48 points before bowing out in the opening round of the playoffs to Colorado in heartbreaking fashion, that season also ranks as memorable in another respect as it was during ’05 that Dallas went 10 games without a win, a streak that ranks as the longest in franchise history.

That streak looks to be in jeopardy as the 2012 FCD club has currently gone seven games without a victory and with road games at Chicago, Real Salt Lake and Houston next up on the docket, it wouldn’t be a huge stretch to see them at least tie the mark for franchise futility.

It has now been 35 days since Dallas last earned three points, beating Montreal, 2-1 at FC Dallas Stadium back on April 14. Since that victory, FCD has gone 0-4-3 and their current seven-game winless streak is the second-longest in franchise history.

But back to the 2005 streak, FCD didn’t win between July 2 and Sept. 10 under Colin Clarke, but still managed to make the playoffs. So what are the parallels between that streak and this current one? It’s tough to say, but we’ll see how this plays out over the next few weeks.

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