FCD players credit Hyndman with culture change

McCarty says training sessions were casual under previous coaches

Almost
from the moment he was announced as FC Dallas head coach in June 2008,
Schellas Hyndman has had one mission: developing a winning culture.

There have
clearly been some growing pains as the FCD manager retooled almost the entire
roster, and in the second half of 2009, it was clear those changes were
beginning to pay big dividends. His club was a tough opponent down the stretch
and came just one game short of making the playoffs for the first time since
2007.

Many
expected FCD to carry that momentum forward into the 2010 campaign. Were it
not for a lack of finishing, they would clearly rank even higher than their current third position in the
Western Conference table. Hyndman's charges are now riding a seven-game unbeaten streak heading into Saturday afternoon's match at Colorado.

For the FCD
gaffer, it’s a testament to how far this team has come since his hiring.

“I think we’re now at that
stage where you’re starting to see a lot more character-the Seattle game and
this game [at Toronto] being down, both games on the road and coming back to
get a point," Hyndman said. "I don’t think the teams in the past would have done that.”

Only
six players remain from the squad the Hyndman inherited and only two of those, Dax McCarty and Brek Shea, are
members of the first XI.

McCarty
is currently nursing a strained right quadriceps injury and might miss his
second straight game this weekend. Now in his fifth year with the club, he notices a distinct difference in the current atmosphere
surrounding the team compared to past years under Steve Morrow and Colin Clarke.

“I think
the main difference between those guys and Schellas is that guys aren’t relaxed
during training," McCarty said. "Some training sessions in the past would be very casual and
there wouldn’t be as much of an emphasis on winning every single thing you
did.

"I think Schellas has done an excellent job of imparting that in
guys’ minds whether it’s a three-v-three game, six-v-six game or 11-v-11
starters vs. reserves that there has got to be that attitude that you’re not
going to lose.”

Backup
goalkeeper Dario Sala came to FCD under Clarke in 2005 and he, too, has noticed a
positive change in his surroundings since Hyndman came on just more than two seasons
ago.

“I’ve had more than 20 coaches in my career and I can put
Schellas in the top three," Sala said. "Look at the environment at practice. Everyone comes
out early, stays late and they go to the gym. The atmosphere is fantastic.

"It’s
taken Schellas a long time to develop a group that is 100 percent focused and going
in the same direction as the coaching staff. That’s a hard thing to get on a
professional team because you have jealousy and egos. He’s made it better and
made the group better.”

The FCD
gaffer has also placed a very high priority on strong team chemistry. In the
last few years, this has included either trading or not renewing the contracts
of several mainstays of the starting lineup but there is little doubt those
changes have been made for the better.