FRISCO, Texas – By the time FC Dallas and the LA Galaxy kick off on Sunday night at the Home Depot Center, both clubs will likely know where they stand in the MLS playoff picture.
And how the games preceding that Western Conference clash shake out could definitely shape the lineup FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman fields in Carson, Calif., later this week.
“The important game is Thursday [Oct. 28, when FCD could open the playoffs],” Hyndman said. “If we were competing for the Supporters’ Shield, I think we’d go in there 100 percent with what we have because there’s something there. But to be No. 3 or No. 4, you’re going to get a home game [in the first leg]. We want to be at our best on [Oct. 28], but that doesn’t mean that we’re going into this game not trying to win. We’re still trying to do our best here.”
After seeing their league record 19-game unbeaten streak end over the weekend at Real Salt Lake, the FCD manager hasn’t seen any problems in his club refocusing their efforts.
“I don’t know if the attitude is different,” Hyndman said. “I think we’re just refocusing. We have a game coming up and then of course, we may have a very short week if we play on Thursday. So, we have to think tactically how we’re going to play this game because the more important game for us is Thursday.”
If Hyndman had his way, that opening game would be Saturday, Oct. 30.
“I’d like for it to be on Saturday because that gives us more time to recover [after the LA game],” he said.
Should FCD play on Oct. 28, it would definitely compress their schedule. Hyndman’s team won’t return to Frisco until Monday since they finish the regular season at LA on Sunday night. Playing on Thursday would also eliminate the customary Tuesday day off for players during a normal week.
A Shot in the Arm
FCD goalkeeper Kevin Hartman returned to practice on Monday for the first time since straining his right MCL in a 2-2 tie with New York on Sept. 16. Having the veteran back in training has already provided a big boost for Hyndman’s club.
“It’s fantastic,” Hyndman said. “It’s a morale-booster. Kevin has done such a fantastic job for us this year. Could things have been different throughout the year if he didn’t get that silly injury? I think he’s always proven to us that he can be a difference-maker. Where is he now as far as percentage wise will determine if he makes the trip [to LA] or not.”
Before his injury, Hartman was a top contender for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. In 20 starts, he has a 10-1-8 record with nine shutouts and a goals-against average of just 0.62.
Change of Schedule
Instead of heading to their road destination the day before a game, this week FCD will head to LA on Friday, a full two days before their Sunday night game against the Galaxy. They will train at the Home Depot Center on Saturday.