FRISCO, Texas - Sitting in eighth place in the conference and five points back of the final playoff slots occupied by Colorado and Los Angeles, respectively, Dallas realistically needs at least ten points from its final four matches to make a playoff run.
But head coach Schellas Hyndman hasn’t given up hope.
“I will always think we can do it until mathematically we’re out, because I really do believe we’re a talented team,” Hyndman said after practice on Wednesday. “We showed it in the first part of the season. Was that because we were playing more as a unit, was that because the ball was bouncing right for us, was that because we weren’t giving up as many goals? - I think it’s probably a combination of all those things.
“Can we get back to that? Yes.”
The club had focused on taking 12 points out of their last eight matches as a viable path to the playoffs and realistically expected to have to take maximum points in their four home games over that span. FCD won the first game against Vancouver, but has now dropped three in a row, including one at home.
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“The mood of the team is huge disappointment...we felt like the Colorado game we should have at least gotten a point. We felt like the New York game, we could have gotten a point - there was a handball that could’ve and should’ve been called. The referee doesn’t see it, so that could’ve given us three points,” Hyndman lamented.
Dallas now likely has to gain nearly maximum points to have a realistic chance at leapfrogging the three teams ahead of them in the standings. Hyndman knows that the first step in that already difficult task, a trip to Rio Tinto Stadium to face Real Salt Lake, wasn’t made any easier by RSL’s surprise loss to D.C. United in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final on Tuesday night.
“They are a very dangerous team at home. They lost [Tuesday night] in the U.S. Open Cup, that’s got to be disappointing. Before that, they lost to San Jose [at home], that’s got to be disappointing, so they’ve got to put the brakes on that skid,” said Hyndman.
In its last three matches, FCD’s defense has put in two game-deciding own goals and then allowed an opponent to score more than three goals in a game for the first time all season. Hyndman hinted that there could be personnel changes coming to the unit that was the team’s strength during its early season run of good form.
“Our defense is going to have to take some responsibility and say, ’we can do better’ as a group,” Hyndman explained. “All I can do is be a leader and make decisions, but once the game starts, we need players on the field to be leaders.”
“When the team doesn’t reach its goals - which is to get to the playoffs - I think everybody should be looked at from the coaches to the players,” said Hyndman. “We all have to have a hand in the accountability.”