FRISCO, Texas -- FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman surprised some by featuring a strong starting lineup for their 2-0 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup win over the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers featuring five starters from Saturday's win over San Jose as well as Panamanian star forward Blas Perez. In reality, it was a statement of intent for FC Dallas on just how seriously they're taking the 100th edition of this historic tournament.
“This is a very important competition for us because of Lamar Hunt,” Hyndman explained. “His name is on the trophy. It is very important to us and it is very important to our owners.”
London Woodberry and Chris Seitz were the only players from last night's starters to not play in Saturday's game against San Jose, but early on, the stronger side on paper was not the better side on the pitch. The teams went into the half-time interval scoreless, but Fort Lauderdale could've scored a couple times if it wasn't for the heroics of Seitz in goal.
“They did take it to us in the first half…I think a lot of that is enthusiasm; they were trying to take the initiative,” Hyndman told reporters after the match. “I think we settled things down at halftime and talked about some of the things they were doing. They just outnumbered us in the center of the field and we weren’t quick enough to put pressure on the ball.”
Hyndman secured the victory by bringing on Matt Hedges in the first half and then David Ferreira in the second before giving the first minutes of the season to Ramon Nunez, who has been recovering from a serious knee injury suffered last fall. Center back George John, making his second start in four days, was solid in the victory and knows just how difficult these early-stage Open Cup wins at lower league sides can be.
"Fort Lauderdale is a strong side," said John. "Anytime in this tournament that you come onto an opposing team’s field, it’s tough to get a victory. They came out with a lot of energy and had a couple of great opportunities, but luckily, we were able to come into halftime with a clean sheet and regroup."
FC Dallas moves on to the fourth round of the US Open Cup and will host the winner of tonight’s match between Houston Dynamo and FC Tucson on Wednesday, June 12 at FC Dallas Stadium.