Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Can 'intense' Hyndman bring glory to Dallas?
by Ridge Mahoney, June 20th, 2008 1:30PM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

This latest coaching move by FC Dallas had better work out. Otherwise, short of spending tens of millions to lure Juergen Klinsmann or Fabio Capello to these shores, or a few mil to drag Bruce Arena back into the MLS fold, I don't know what else the franchise can do.

In this decade, it has employed American-born coaches (Dave Dir, Mike Jeffries) and gone with British ex-pros (Colin Clarke, Steve Morrow). It has won a lot of regular-season games and faltered in the playoffs. It has built a superb facility (Pizza Hut Park), fielded some excellent international players (Oscar Pareja, Juan Toja, Ronnie O'Brien), and signed a complete clunker (Denilson). It has been home to one of the best American players in league history (Jason Kreis).

And it hasn't even reached MLS Cup, much less won it. Why?

What it hasn't done is opt for stability and continuity, supposedly the staples of success in pro sports, and especially when it comes to coaching. Morrow lasted less than a season and a half, and his .500 record (15-15-8) over that span didn't convince team executives Clark Hunt and Dan Hunt that he should have been chosen over their top choice, Schellas Hyndman, in the first place.

By exercising their power, however, the Hunts have wedged team GM Michael Hitchcock, who made the call to fire Clarke as well as hire his former assistant, Morrow, in a precarious position. Hitchcock followed predecessors Billy Hicks, Andy Swift and Greg Elliott in October, 2005, and upon his arrival promised an MLS Cup to fans of the team formerly known as the Burn.

To deliver on that promise, Hitchcock must rely on Hyndman, the man he passed over in favor of Morrow, whose decision to anchor his back line with former Mexican international Duilio Davino and switch to a 3-5-2 formation has yet to take root.

Hyndman's career at SMU mirrors somewhat that of FC Dallas: an excellent record (368-98-38), yet just two trips to the final four and no championships in 24 seasons. And he's already expressed his preference for a four-man back line, which probably means more adjustments and changes to defenders and the midfield as well.

Where Hyndman might help FCD is mentally and psychologically. His training in martial arts (advanced degree black belt in karate) is steeped in mental toughness, as former SMU defender Ugo Ihemelu told me in the Galaxy locker room following its win in MLS Cup 2005.

"The mental side of the game, concentrating every minute and every second, never losing your focus, that's where Schellas helped me the most to become a professional," said Ihemelu. "He's pretty intense, well, really intense, himself and he wants that in his players."

In recent seasons, FCD has not lacked for determined, zealous players, but it has suffered from frozen lobes at critical times, as per Chris Gbandi's red card in the 30th minute of the Western Conference semifinal second leg against Colorado in 2006, and Arturo Alvarez's ejection last year early in the second half in the same situation against Houston.

Let's not forget, either, how Dallas fell to Colorado in the 2005 playoffs, losing on penalties after a 2-2 tie during which is played with a man advantage for 73 minutes following the ejection of Alain Nkong. Carlos Ruiz could have won the series with a penalty kick in the 112nd minute but shot against the goalpost.

Bad luck or bad brains? You make the call.

The new boss ain't like the old boss, but it's his boss, not him, who's on the hot seat.

Hyndman, being the Hunts' choice, will surely get more time than Morrow unless he proves to be a complete debacle, so if FCD Dallas isn't at Home Depot Center this November for MLS Cup 2008, the next major change will be aimed a few rungs higher on the accountability ladder.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
More to MLS labor imbalance than no free agency    
As negotiators meet in Washington in attempt to reach an agreement that will avert MLS's first ...
Can these U-17s be the new 99ers?     
In 1999, the USA, with a team that included Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley, finished fourth ...
Soccer and labor strife: It's never about the money    
As American sports go, pro soccer has had relative labor peace. Since the only work stoppage ...
Solo still has chance to prove people wrong    
Just how much more rope is U.S. Soccer willing to give Hope Solo?
Hamid becomes a student of the game    
Like for most good goalkeepers, D.C. United's Bill Hamid will tell you the biggest improvement he ...
Three takeaways from Southampton-Liverpool    
A match rife with refereeing controversies ended in a vital 2-0 victory for Liverpool over Southampton ...
Late call from U.S. is no problem for Hedges    
FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges reached a milestone last year when named team captain and he ...
Three takeaways from Schalke 04-Real Madrid     
Real Madrid's Champions League title defense remained on course with a 2-0 away win against Schalke ...
Three takeaways from PSG-Chelsea    
Chelsea returned to its pragmatic ways and rode the goalkeeping of Thibaut Courtois to tie Paris ...
It's time to shutter January camp    
January camp, a tradition of the U.S. men's national team program for more than a quarter ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives