FRISCO, Texas – Twice in the early going of the 2011 season, FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman has dropped the term “emotional intelligence” when speaking with the media – once for each red card his team has suffered through in just three games.
Hyndman elaborated on that concept after Monday’s training session.
“I use it in the soccer world, which means that when you are getting upset about something, you lose your emotions, and you don’t do a lot of smart things,” said Hyndman outside the team’s locker room. “We keep stressing to the players that they have to stay emotionally under control.”
After two red cards in three matches and a suspension to left back Jair Benitez that left him out of the season opener, the consensus is that FCD's emotional intelligence must improve. For Hyndman's club, that starts with old hands Daniel Hernandez, Milton Rodriguez and Kevin Hartman.
Hartman said that the veterans must let their actions do all the talking.
“I think the biggest thing for us right now is to lead by example,” said Hartman. “At the end of the day, we want to make sure they see us working ridiculously hard so that we have the opportunity to call people out that aren’t working hard.”
Hartman admitted that it was tough to draw much from the first three matches as 92 total minutes have been played with only 10 men on the field, but he also stated that the team’s character and desire to win is present.
In last Friday’s 2-0 loss in Columbus that included Jackson Goncalves’ red card and a Columbus penalty-kick goal, FC Dallas did not settle for the counterattack, but instead played aggressively, plugging players forward in hopes of scoring the equalizer.
“Playing a man down for such a long period of time, if we continue to push and not just bunker in, it says a lot about our confidence and our belief in ourselves," said Hartman, "but unfortunately, it hasn’t transferred into any goals or points yet."
Leaders such as Hartman have continually shown throughout their long, successful careers the ability to ignore the outside elements and instead focus on being a team.
“I think that it’s one of those things that you want to relay the lessons that you have and you speak to guys as friends,” said Hartman. “You’re not trying to come over the top of them or to do what the coach does, but there are certainly relationships that we have developed as friends out there.”
Early-season struggles are not uncommon for FC Dallas. Last year, the team did not record its first win until May 5 – 40 days after the season opener and six games into the season.
However, the team’s veterans are doing everything possible to “right the ship,” as Hartman puts it, and with MLS Cup champions Colorado coming to Dallas on Friday, Hyndman referenced a legendary coach to help his players emotional intelligence growth.
“From something John Wooden said, it’s very normal to complain, it’s very normal to blame and then you have excuses,” said Hyndman. “We want to get into a position where we don’t want any excuses and just do what you’re supposed to do.”