FC Dallas celebrated the birthday of Head Coach Schellas Hyndman as they took the adidas training field Thursday dressed in both Samurai diapers and ninja headbands. The outfits were meant to represent the coach’s martial arts background. Defender Heath Pearce led the way, donning a pair of dark sunglasses and a walking stick – a shot at Assistant Coach John Ellinger’s abilities as a soccer tennis referee.
After the players sang to Hyndman, the coach brought the mood from celebratory to extraordinary. The coach conveyed his gratitude for the team’s gesture and reinforced the importance of remembering loved ones through a remarkable anecdote. It was not a typical beginning to practice for any team, except, perhaps for a special one. A team capable of great things. A team on a mission to delete a 25-game home unbeaten streak against RSL (11/6 @ 9 p.m. CT on Fox Soccer Channel).
Back to work
Kevin Hartman was very vocal early on in a possession drill. The veteran goalkeeper provided direction to young defender Moises Hernandez. A few minutes later another youngster, 18-year-old Ruben Luna, out-jumped his defender to finish a cross played in from the left flank by Jair Benitez. Luna’s finish was high to the far post, well out of the reach of goalkeeper Dario Sala.
Going the opposite direction, Peri Marosevic got a goal back for the orange team when he hit a solid strike low to the near post. The shot barely tucked itself inside the post, beating Marosevic’s defender and the goalkeeper.
Coach Hyndman pushed the goals back for some full field action following the possession drill. After a short talk, Hyndman set his starting lineup. He let the teams play for several minutes at a time before switching players around. He did this three or four times, trying many players in multiple positions.
During one of the short scrimmages Eric Alexander got a long look at Hartman from the top of the box. Alexander drove a ball chest high at Hartman, but the goalkeeper was on task and punched the shot away for a corner.
FC Dallas wrapped up the short session with some work on set pieces and penalty kicks.
SEE: Photos from today's FC Dallas training session
“We started training on February 2,” Hyndman said following practice. “It was cold. It’s cold now. How good does it feel to still be training nine months later?”
Hyndman on the mini birthday celebration during practice
"It was nice. For [the team] to take the time to do that with everything that we have going on right now, it was very nice of them to do that."
Hyndman’s philosophy on taking penalties
"My philosophy is very simple – make them."
FC Dallas Captain Daniel Hernandez on the birthday celebration
"The team has come together like a big family this season. We have a lot of love for coach and it was important for us to do something like that for him."