Fans were able to ask FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman questions on Wednesday afternoon in a Facebook chat. The following is a transcript of the chat.
How do you think our new 4-4-2 formation will help solve our offensive deficiency from last season? And can you give us any update on the starting goalkeeper race?
Playing in the new formation helps us in the strike force because we have two strikers. We're able to pin opponents deeper and find more space in the attack. It now should be 1v1, whereas in the past our strikers were double teamed. With quality service, we have strikers like Blas, Kenny, Hassli and Castillo who can score goals for us.
How has Raul Fernandez impressed you so far?
Raul comes in with a great resume as national team keeper for Peru. He's played against Argentina, Brazil, Colombia - the better players in South America. Has an opportunity to play at high level of soccer. Area he's impressed me the most with is athleticism. He gets to balls shot high and low. He also has good distribution. Area he needs to work on is language, communication and organization.
Who does Coach see being that creator in the middle. With DF10 on the wing who will calm the storm in the middle.
Right now we have 3 legitimate options for 2 central mid spots. Andrew Jacobson, Bobby Warshaw, Je-Vaughn Watson. Those 3 players will be competing for the two spots. I think David will still be the creative midfielder, and he will still find himself in the center sometimes as our playmaker.
Coach, suspensions plagued FCD significantly last season. What are you doing to improve the "emotional intelligence" of the players this year?
You sometimes think you're making progress, only to be disappointed and frustrated again. We continue to talk about it. It's not that the players didn't hear the message, but it goes back to controlling their emotions. One thing we didn't have last year was depth, so we had to live with it. What we're hoping for this year is there's more competition for positions, so players will be held more strictly on holding their emotions and keeping a check on their teammates.
Have you decided who is going to be the starting goalkeeper for the games?
Starting GK will be decided in next day or two. Both have been good in preseason. Both have strengths and weaknesses. I'll be relying on GK coach Drew Keeshan and taking his recommendation into consideration as part of the decision.
What are the 2013 team's strengths/weaknesses compared to the 2012 team?
I hope one of our strengths is more depth. I hope team chemistry is better. We'll have a better strike force. We have Blas, Kenny and Eric, not just Blas. We have strength on the flank with option of Jackson, Castillo, David or Jair. Our defense is the same as last year with Jair, Matt, George and Zach. With the addition of Michel, London and Stephen we are stronger there. GK will be solid. We'll defend better and attack better. I don't know if we'll control the midfield as much in the past. Weakness will be national team call-ups during the season. Weakness - how will we play the midfield? One less player than previous years there. Area that's unknown is injuries - timing and whom they might occur to.
When do you think we will see the debut of Zimmerman when he heals?
Walker was hurt when playing for his college team. Didn't play at the combine, either. It's not a sports hernia. Taking some steps forward, but then it's a step back as well. We're setting up some appointments to help him out. We hope to have him out the second week of April.
What will it take for Castillo to be a regular starter? Is this his breakthrough year?
Castillo has improved immensely since his first days at FCD. He's had to learn tactics. But we're amazed with his athleticism. His lack of understanding of tactics affects his decision making. He can be the best in one moment, average the next. Some things to have a breakthrough year: 1 - Playing at a consistent level doing the right things more often. 2 - Be a better two-way player. 3 - Be more productive, either scoring goals or assisting on goals.
How far do you think you guys will go this year?
I'm excited for the season. Like the chemistry and leadership. We have a balanced team on both sides of the ball. I think we're a team that's ambitious. We worked hard at the end of last season. We're a younger team, now. Expectation is to find success. To compete for an MLS championship and compete for a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup trophy. These are our goals. We will find success by playing good soccer and play on both sides of the ball.
Last year the team started strong, and then fell apart. What will you do different this season to insure that the team does not fall apart again?
The team was focused and did everything we could to start 2012 off right. Where the team had difficulty was people called in for national team duty, the historic number of injuries. When we played Houston, we had 7 first team players not in the lineup. We had players that never played a minute for us end up starting numerous games for us. I thought our emotional intelligence affected us. We had players getting carded and suspended. It was a vicious circle. Without that depth, I was impressed with how hard the boys worked down to the end. If the ball bounced right, we could have made the playoffs. We don't want to get into that situation again. We want to take control of our own destiny in 2013.
Thanks for chatting with me. Come out and support us at home. Being at home is a huge advantage. - SH