FCD take pride in their deadlock defense

Two back-to-back clean sheets show FCD the way


Photo Credit: 
Bob Levey/Getty Images

numbers don’t lie. FC Dallas have not allowed a goal in 225 minutes and come off
back-to-back clean sheets against DC United and Houston. For head coach Schellas
Hyndman, who preached the virtues of team defense almost since taking the reins
in June 2008, it is good to see his team buying into that philosophy.

“It’s something I think is a priority for good players and
teams to play on both sides of the ball,” said Hyndman. “They’re buying into it
more for two reasons. One, they’re starting to see the end result: a victory or
a good play. Two, I think it’s different personnel that are willing to buy into
it. We’ve had trouble with that in the past.”

Hyndman’s players clearly agree.

“I don’t think it’s all just buying into it, I think we
bought into it,” midfielder Brek Shea said. “It’s more that everyone is starting to play for each other
instead of just being out there. You could see in
the Houston game that people were diving in front of the ball, sacrificing
their body. We’re starting to come together as a team.”

Center back Ugo Ihemelu sees that mentality starting up
front with the forwards.

“You hear defending is a team thing,” said the Nigerian-born defender. “It starts up front and
works its way to the back. You see David Ferreira
and Jeff [Cunningham] defending, and those are our attacking guys. They’re
working the whole game to help us out defensively. It’s paying off. Schellas
has been pushing that defensive style since preseason and its paid off for us
the last two games.”

Even goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who has been with FCD for
just over two months, has already noticed a huge change in the team’s entire
defensive mindset.

“When I first arrived, I was amazed at how anxious we were
to get forward and with such great numbers,” Hartman said.

However, the FCD keeper has seen some big differences over
the last two games.

“One of the things that really opened my eyes was, when we
went up 1-0 in Houston, the shape we took and how defensively sound we were for
the final 10-15 minutes, I thought it was splendid,” said Hartman, who also saw
the entire team carry that performance onto a 1-0 win at home over DC United
last week.

“I also thought we played against a really disciplined DC
United team. We had to play in front of them quite a bit and had to keep the
ball and make sure we didn’t turn it over,” he said. “We still remained
confident and believed in what it was that we were doing. [We] just continued
to plug away and were able to pick up the goal.”

FCD will look for a third straight win and clean sheet
tomorrow, when they face Philadelphia in an afternoon tilt at Lincoln Financial