FRISCO – For much of this season, Schellas Hyndman’s job has been like a poker player without a full deck. Injuries and suspensions to key attacking players have left the FC Dallas head coach without much of a choice when looking to create his best hand against the rest of the sharks in Major League Soccer.
On Saturday against Vancouver, however (7:30 p.m. CT kick; 11 p.m. telecast on TXA21), Hyndman will finally have his full strike force – as he likes to call them – leaving the coach with something he hasn’t had all year: decisions to make.
“It’s making the job now a little bit difficult, but in a different manor because now you have to choose players,” Hyndman said about his attacking talent. “It’s great and this is what we hoped for in the beginning of the year.”
Remarkably, Saturday could mark the first time that we could see Brek Shea, Fabián Castillo, David Ferreira and Blas Pérez on the pitch together, with none of the quartet of players injured, on national team duty or suspended. Add Brazilian midfielder Jackson into the mix and suddenly the must-win match for Dallas becomes that much more winnable.
“We could look at it like it’s disappointing that we haven’t had them for this long, but optimistically we’re super-excited to be going into the Vancouver game with some serious weapons,” Kevin Hartman told MLSsoccer.com. “Ones that can not only start the game well, but come off the bench and add something to it.”
And it’s that impact off the bench that has truly been missing for Dallas this season. With 29 games played in the 2012 season, FCD have goals from substitutes in just three of them, without any game-winning goals from players who didn’t start the match.
“As somebody who works with the defense, when somebody brings a fast and explosive player off the bench, you’re a little bit worried about it and cognizant of the fact that they’ve got a guy coming in who’s going to be a game changer,” Hartman said. “No matter how fit you are, there’s always a drop off in level as far as what your work rate can be after 70 minutes versus somebody coming in fresh.”
Now it’s time to see what kind of aces Hyndman has up his sleeve.
“I think everybody knows how much of a threat this team can be when they have everyone in attack,” said Julian de Guzman, a player who’s been a bit of a stranger to the MLS playoff race in recent years with Toronto FC. “It’s great to have everybody fit for such an important match. The timing of it is great and it’s just a matter of us being able to gel once that whistle blows against Vancouver.”