Jeff Cunningham
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FC Dallas hoping they can improve finishing

In FC Dallas’ first two matches against Houston and Columbus, Schellas Hyndman’s club had no shortage of quality scoring chances. However, the finishing just wasn’t there in either game and the Hoops had to settle for a tie both times.

So, last week, the FCD head coach decided his club needed some extra work on finishing. It was thought this added work might result in his team being more clinical in front of the net against the New York Red Bulls.

And on Saturday night in their first game at Red Bull Arena, it looked like that added emphasis on converting chances into goals might pay off. Before a header by Dax McCarty in the 10th minute gave FCD an early 1-0 lead, Hyndman’s club had missed several decent chances to truly blow the game wide open. But after the goal, the thinking was the goals would start flowing for FCD. Of course, that never happened.

One reason was that Red Bulls goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul was on fire. The Senegal native came up with save after save, robbing FCD with precision as he was especially on point when Jeff Cunningham, David Ferreira and Eric Avila tried to score in the second half.

Hyndman gave Coundoul a lot of credit for his stellar performance in the 2-1 win, but he also realizes his team just needs to finish better.

“[Ferreira] hits a great shot and the goalie makes a wonderful hand save and it goes right into the post instead of going into the goal,” the FCD coach said. “We’re doing a lot of things well. At the end of the day, it’s all about results. We could be sitting realistically with nine points and today, we’re sitting with two. It’s frustrating, but the good thing is we’re doing so many things so well so early in the year, but the finishing needs to come.”

During the FCD broadcast, the announcing team commented that Cunningham in particular looked like a player who wasn’t playing with much confidence. Hyndman offered his own take on Monday.

“He’s a player that kind of wears his emotions on his sleeve,” the coach said. “He’s not an easy player to counsel because if you say the wrong thing to him, he takes it the wrong way. This game coming up [Thursday at home to Seattle] is a real opportunity for him to come out. It’s getting it done in practice. If you can score four or five goals in practice, then that builds confidence for the game.”