FRISCO, Texas – Red cards and rest.
Both are dominant storylines headed into Wednesday night’s match when Real Salt Lake makes its lone visit to FC Dallas Stadium for 2012 (7:30 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest Plus).
RSL will be without forward Fabian Espindola and defender Jamison Olave. Both were red-carded in Saturday’s match against San Jose, triggering automatic one-match suspensions.
“We all have our issues, whether it’s cards, whether it’s suspensions or whether it’s injuries,” said FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman.
Hyndman and defender Zach Loyd said they couldn’t remember being on a team that had to play with nine men on the field during a match.
But Loyd said the back line won’t change how they prepare for RSL, even with Espindola out.
“It’s a great opportunity for some of their guys to step up and make an impact in the game,” Loyd said.
But the manager said there’s a difference in what RSL is facing compared to FC Dallas.
The cards and suspensions are usually a one game event, Hyndman said, but injuries to players last much longer.
He named David Ferreira and Ricardo Villar as examples. Ferreira has been out for a full year and Villar has been out since being injured in the April 5 match vs. New England.
“Villar gets taken out … and the player who takes him out gets a one game suspension,” Hyndman said. “It doesn’t seem right.”
FC Dallas and RSL are playing Wednesday’s match on short rest – both teams played late Saturday on the west coast and both have matches this coming Saturday.
Loyd said players have to take care of themselves off the field to get through such a compressed schedule.
He credits the FC Dallas staff, coaches and nutritionist for helping players with ideas to stay fresh mentally and physically. Things like eating right and taking naps help.
“I think they’ve done a great job,” Loyd said. “We went through this last year in Champions League for several months.”
Hyndman said his team must think about the current match and not think about last Saturday or this coming Saturday against LA Galaxy.
But he’s not a fan of playing three times in eight days.
“I just think it’s been poor scheduling,” Hyndman said. “But it’s what we’ve got to deal with.”
Loyd says the team will be prepared.
“Like coach says all the time, it’s a matter of willpower. You can push your body to limits that I don’t think you can expect.”