This was exactly how Schellas Hyndman envisioned things. When the FC Dallas head coach drafted North Carolina defender Zach Loyd fifth overall in mid-January’s MLS Super Draft, Hyndman saw Loyd earning a starting spot in short order.
However, even the FCD rookie was a bit surprised his debut came in week two against Columbus. Loyd started at right back for the Hoops in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with the Crew before leaving with about 15 minutes left as Hyndman wanted a bit more offense on the field.
“I officially found out after practice on Thursday,” the FCD rookie said. “It came as a little bit of a surprise that they were going to give me an opportunity this early in the season. “I was really nervous and excited. After the first few minutes, you get back into it like its practice. My teammates were helping me and talking me up all the way to game time.”
One thing Loyd didn’t do was tell his family right away. His parents and 2-year-old son were making the drive down from Oklahoma, as they plan to do for every FCD home game.
“I actually waited until they came down here [to tell them],” he admitted. “I didn’t want too many people finding out. I didn’t want people calling me. I wanted to just mentally get ready for the game.”
And when asked how much it meant to have his family present for his professional debut, Loyd was at a bit of a loss for words.
“It’s kind of hard to describe because they’ve done so much for me,” he said. “Growing up, they would take me to practice 45 minutes away every day. With all the support they gave me, it was a really special moment.”
On Hyndman’s part, the coach offered a decent review of Loyd’s first start.
“Offensively, he had a couple of passes that missed his target,” Hyndman said. “We’ve just got to make sure we play balls to midfielders’ feet. That gives them a chance to protect and a chance to get fouled. But if we miss the player, then it’s a counterattack. He’s a quick learner. I think he did very well for himself.”
Loyd was also pleased with his debut.
“I thought defensively, I was pretty strong on one-v-ones,” he said. “They had a hard time getting around me. Offensively, I had some bad turnovers. I would try to spray balls in the middle and lose them in the defensive third, which is a really dangerous spot. I need to get sharper on offense and just be aware of my surroundings when I’m going forward. I think that’s my next step.”