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Hyndman's Dallas To-Do List
Dallas Morning News , October 28th, 2008 3:30PM

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FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman made it to the NCAA tournament in 30 of his 31 seasons as a college coach, which has made his debut midseason with the pros at FC Dallas all the more difficult to stomach, reports Diego Aparicio. "I've never been in this position in my career where the season is over at this time," said Hyndman. "The brutal truth is that we failed. We did not reach the playoffs, our goal."

No doubt about the bare facts, but what about the analysis? Dallas finished its regular season with an 8-10-12 record, tallying just 36 points out of a possible 90. Hyndman correctly works out that turning half of those draws into wins would have seen the team into the playoffs. And so next year's goal is to turn a less than .500 season into a .700 season. Yes, all very good, but how?

Hyndman conceded that reaching this goal would require "a huge jump," and pinpoints defense as the area where urgent work is needed. "I think defense needs to have inspired and true athletic ability and speed," he said. "When we get beat, we have no one that can recover to catch the person to put them under pressure." Holding on to leads would be useful too -- in 11 games Dallas allowed opposing teams to come back after scoring the go-ahead goal. Offense is less of a problem, with the team ranked third-equal highest in goalscoring with 45, the same as Western Conference winners Houston.

Aparicio identifies the priorities as re-negotiating top scorer Kenny Cooper's contract, acquiring a creative midfielder who adds the killer offensive pass, reinforcing the back line with a fast and strong central defender, protecting midfielders Andre Rocha and Pablo Ricchetti, as well as striker Jeff Cunningham, during the upcoming expansion draft for Seattle Sounders FC, and "clearing $400,000 of salary-cap space by placing defender and captain Duilio Davino in the unprotected list, hoping that Seattle takes the chance with the Mexican veteran."

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