Plenty to build on
As far as season openers go, FC Dallas will take a 1-1 draw with in-state rival Houston to start the 2010 campaign. Schellas Hyndman’s club was outshot 12-9 by the Dynamo but he did like the resiliency his club showed in the tie, especially considering after a 36th-minute goal by Mike Chabala, FCD trailed. However, Atiba Harris answered two minutes later to quickly tie things up.
“It’s probably very typical for the first game of the year. I thought there was a lot of energy from both teams,” Hyndman said. “I thought it was a good game from the beginning to the end. I was very pleased with our play because we were down a goal to a very good team, the Houston Dynamo. It’s not often that teams can come back and tie a game or score on Houston. They have that mentality of stepping onto you when you’re down. I was very pleased with our mental attitude of coming back.”
For FCD starting midfielder Dax McCarty, the final outcome was a fair result.
“Yeah, I think (it was a fair result). If you look overall at the entire game, you could say that both teams had their chances,” McCarty said. “Obviously, I think both teams kind of lacked a little bit of sharpness in the final third. It’s not a loss to start the season, which is always positive. We would like to get the win but we can build off this.”
McCarty added that both teams showed plenty of rust in their respective openers.
“It’s certainly frustrating when you’re trying to build off the momentum of last year when you’re playing great, it seems like every pass is finding its target and no one is losing the ball. It’s the first game of the year and you don’t feel you’re as sharp as you were last year,” he said.
With the clubs tied 1-1 at the break, the FCD coach kept his message to his team fairly simple.
“I was very positive with the boys at halftime. When you’re at home, there’s a lot of pressure to perform and find success,” Hyndman said. “We just tried to pick it up before we went out there about our mentality of keeping the ball and keeping our composure for the second half.”
After being outshot 7-3 in the opening frame, FCD logged six shots compared to five by Houston in the final 45 minutes, something that can be somewhat attributed to the home team having the wind at their back.
“We had the wind. I think it really puts you back on your heels when you’re trying to defend (against the wind),” Hyndman admitted. “It seems like the other team wins a lot of the second balls, so they get second chances. Saying that, I think the wind made a difference but maybe we had a better half in the second half.”
However, while the end result was largely positive and getting one point from a match with Houston was as well, there was a huge negative from this game for FCD. It came in the 55th minute when center back Kyle Davies suffered a broken right arm and had to leave the field.
Davies started on Saturday because normal starter Ugo Ihemelu suffered a strained left hamstring earlier in the week and was unable to play.
“Davies’ injury is a broken arm and dislocation. It all came from a kick,” Hyndman said. “You get hit in the arm and something might break. It’s a broken arm and dislocation at the elbow. He’ll be out probably eight weeks.”
However, the FCD coach does expect Ihemelu to return soon.
“Ugo, we expect him back. He strained a hamstring,” Hyndman said. “We were having a pretty intense training and he strained a hamstring going after a ball. Yesterday, when he went through training, he just wasn’t sure if he could go. So we were able to pull him out. I thought Kyle (Davies) did a very good job.”
For a player who wasn’t even going to be a starter just about a month ago, Harris did well at right midfield. Speedy Honduran Marvin Chavez had been one of FCD’s top performers in preseason before a knee injury suffered nearly a month ago in a preseason game with Houston in Florida sidelined him.
Harris clearly rose to the occasion on Saturday.
“I thought he did fine. What a great goal,” Hyndman said of Harris’ play. “I think there were a couple of chances where he got behind people and had a bad service or maybe slipped on the service. He’s competing for every ball. He’s strong. He’s winning head balls. He’s fighting or defending head balls. He’s a good player for us.”