FC Dallas fans hope 2010 success brings passion to Pizza Hut Park
Wrong or right, good times or bad, FC Dallas’ core fan base the Inferno and El Matador will always be passionate. That was certainly the case when Inferno Vice President Wayne McMullen decided to show his displeasure for FC Dallas Head Coach Schellas Hyndman early in 2009. McMullen drew up a sign calling for the sacking of Hyndman.
“I really got into it because we hadn’t won anything to that point in the season,” McMullen said.
FC Dallas had a slow start to the 2009 season, going 1-6-1 following a 1-0 loss in Houston on May 9.
“The thing that really got to me was the feeling of apathy from our fans,” McMullen said. “Schellas was just an easy target. And I know our little protest was not a factor in turning the whole thing around, but as a fan you have that personal connection that makes you feel like you did make a difference. I felt like the team really started to play better after that.”
Hyndman’s persistence paid off eventually and retooled FC Dallas started to get results.
“Who knew that this guy was a real workhorse and he had come here with a plan?” McMullen said “Nobody said supporters had to be experts on running a franchise, we just need to yell louder than the people standing next to us.”
Then fate intervened and brought the supporter together with the coach.
“My wife won a trip to go see the team take on Seattle,” McMullen said. “I woke up early the day of the game and went down to a little coffee shop. Schellas and I were the only two people in there. I thought he was going to turn around and punch me in the face because we really did say some very unkind things about him.
“I wanted to apologize. I walked up and said ‘you may not know who I am but I was the one with the sign that said fire coach dumbass.’ He just smiled and shook my hand. He said he would rather have passionate fans than ones who didn’t care either way. He was very gracious. The guy is a class act.”
One of the biggest pieces of Hyndman’s puzzle, defensive midfielder Daniel Hernandez joined FC Dallas on Sept. 12, 2009. Instantly, the team went from being a disappointing 6-11-6, to a 5-2-0 team in the last seven games of the season. That mark included a 6-3 thrashing of the Galaxy on Sept. 12.
But the hole was too deep and FC Dallas fell a single point shy of beating out the eventual MLS Cup Champions Real Salt Lake for the final playoff position. During the offseason Hyndman had a chance to fine-tune a team that was finally his squad. The result is a historic MLS team, one that has completed both a MLS record 12-game road unbeaten streak and a MLS record 19-game unbeaten streak. FC Dallas is now 90 minutes away from the franchise’s first appearance in an MLS Cup Final.
And last week Hyndman’s perseverance was rewarded with the MLS Coach of the Year award.
“He really deserves this,” McMullen said. “The team has a passion that they have not had in years. When I made that sign, I just wanted what was good for FC Dallas and Schellas Hyndman is more than good for FC Dallas.”
“But the what I want to take away from this season is for the city of Dallas to go out and give the same level of effort from the stands as the players are giving out on the field,” McMullen said. “This is not a passive game where you sit there and clap only when the players do something good. Part of experiencing a soccer game is to be part of it. Bring your passion to Pizza Hut Park.”