In 2009, FC Dallas led MLS in goals with 50. So far this season, however, the story is quite different.
Although Schellas Hyndman’s club is just one of two sides that have scored in every game played in 2010, FCD is clearly not converting their share of scoring chances.
A good case in point was Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Philadelphia. FCD led 1-0 after Brek Shea’s first MLS tally 13 minutes in, but couldn’t find the back of the net again and was forced to leave town with just one point after the Union drew things level late in stoppage time.
Atiba Harris and Jeff Cunningham both missed quality chances in the first half that could have given FCD some much-needed breathing room.
According to Hyndman, the players who should be finishing their chances aren’t finding the back of the net.
“That’s the reality,” said the head coach. “It’s not the defenders that are missing it, it’s the players that we’re counting on to put in the one-v-ones or the knockdown balls.”
The FCD coach and his players all realize that had they gone ahead by two or three goals, the match would’ve been completely different.
“I don’t think they battle that hard if they’re down 2-0 and I know they don’t battle that hard if they’re down 3-0,” Hyndman said. “What we need to do is put some of those chances away so we don’t have to drag that game into the 90th-plus minute.”
FCD midfielder Dax McCarty, who has two assists this year, agrees.
“I think we play great right up until we score that first goal,” McCarty said. “Then we score that first goal and for whatever reason, we tighten up or we don’t go for the kill. It’s frustrating because you feel that once [we] do get that second, we’ll be able to close games out.”
Shea also realizes that had FCD scored at least one more, the game wouldn’t have been so tight in the final 45 minutes.
“Throughout the game, we had many chances to go up 2-0. If we would have done that, they probably would have folded,” he said.
Cunningham did get the secondary assist on FCD’s lone goal of the day but Hyndman took his top scorer out in the 63rd minute for speedy Honduran Marvin Chavez.
That switch was partly a function of a lack of production from Cunningham as much as it was Hyndman wanting to see Chavez on the field for the first time in the 2010 regular season.
“I think it was probably a combination of both. My comment to Jeff (Cunningham) at halftime was that I thought he needed to be a little bit more mobile,” Hyndman said.
Currently in seventh place in the Western Conference, Dallas’ offense must find its groove for if FCD is to change how their story for this season is written.