No doubt about it, FC Dallas’ 2-0 win over defending MLS Cup champions Real Salt Lake on Saturday was huge for Schellas Hyndman’s side. In fact, it might be the biggest win of the Hyndman era in Frisco.
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But while FCD’s head coach and his players take pride in blanking Jason Kreis’ team, they also realize it is just one game and there is a bigger picture to always be aware of: making the playoffs. That’s why, after the game and even after Monday morning's practice, Hyndman and his boys remained pretty low-key about the victory.
“That’s been my demeanor since I’ve been here,” Hyndman said on Monday. “I don’t let too many things get me all wound up one way or the other. Because of that demeanor, I’ve kept a pretty even keel with the players pregame (and) after the game. Of course, you recognize those are great moments. I think it was a great accomplishment to beat a very good team.”
However, that triumph hasn’t caused anyone to lose focus on the ultimate goal.
“We stay focused on short term and hopefully, when we go into the last 10 games, we’ve put ourselves in a wonderful position to be in the playoffs. That’s our goal,” Hyndman said.
As for the players, they completely agree with their boss.
“It means a lot,” FCD midfielder Atiba Harris said after the game. “They’re the defending MLS Cup champions. They’re now five points ahead of us and we’re trying to catch up to them. Three points like tonight’s help us a lot.”
Brek Shea, who had a goal, an assist and also cleared a possible RSL goal off the endline late in the first half, concurred with his fellow midfielder.
“I think the fact that they’re in our conference and ahead of us, getting a win over them…really helps us,” Shea said. "It’s a bonus that they were the champs last year and we beat them. I think it was good.”
Defender/midfielder Heath Pearce, who assisted on Harris’ goal, agreed it was a big win, but for different reasons.
“It’s a big day for us because we’ve added a new player (Milton Rodriguez) to the team. We were able to get him into the team and get him a lot of repetitions on the field,” he said. “He created one of the goals for us. He did a lot for us. So it’s a big day for us to get a result on a day where we’re bringing a new player into the team.”
Nevertheless, Pearce admitted it’s always good to beat the reigning champions.
“On top of that, it’s good because they’re the defending champs. If you look back at the end of last year, we beat them convincingly,” he said. “Towards the end of the season, they snuck into the playoffs and they won the championship.
“Momentum is everything and they had momentum after playing us going into the playoffs. It shows us that we’re making good progress and where we’re at in the season.”