When determining the biggest reasons why FC Dallas is in MLS Cup for the first time, it’s not hard to see that the several veteran additions by Schellas Hyndman since his hiring in June 2008 played the most crucial role in the club’s unprecedented 2010 success.
It all started in February 2009, when the Dallas gaffer arranged for a Colombian midfielder named David Ferreira to come over on loan from Brazilian side Atletico Parananense. It took “El Torito” a few months to adjust to MLS, but after that, he showed the makings of the special player that has since earned rave reviews and become a finalist for 2010 MLS MVP honors.
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One thing Ferreira recalls about his early days in Frisco is how welcoming his new teammates were. Because of that, 5-foot-5 playmaker vowed to return the favor for anyone joining the team after him. It’s a process he has repeated countless times, and the affable South American is just one reason why this FCD team is a true family unit.
The next veteran to join the fold was midfielder Daniel Hernandez, who came to Frisco in Sept. 2009 and had played for Hyndman at Southern Methodist University. Hernandez had a solid resume in MLS, including two MLS Cup appearances and was coming off a successful stint in Mexico’s top division.
Almost from the time he joined FCD, Hernandez was acting like a captain and holding his teammates accountable, something that had been an issue in Frisco in years prior. Thus, it was no surprise that Hyndman chose the tough, hard-nosed holding midfielder to wear the armband earlier this year.
The latest move came in March, when FCD acquired veteran goalkeeper Kevin Hartman in a trade with Kansas City. “El Gato” had won two MLS Cups with Los Angeles and had also twice been named the league’s top goalkeeper.
Once the MLS mainstay became the starter between the posts for Dallas, his constant communication with the backline and his veteran leadership were indispensable as FCD’s defense became one of MLS' best.
And had he not suffered a knee injury in September, Hartman very well could have claimed his third MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award for his stellar performance in 2010.
Ferreira, Hartman and Hernandez are just three of seven FCD players over the age of 30 who have given this season’s Western Conference champions a solid veteran core. The accumulated experience of this group has been paying dividends all year and has especially been crucial at playoff time.
Now that the Hoops are in MLS Cup (Sun., Nov. 21, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) – a place several of them have been before – that experience could pay off in the biggest of ways.