In FC Dallas' 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy on Thursday night, the only goal of the match came after center back George John tried to execute an offside trap. He tried to pull the Galaxy’s Tristan Bowen offside near midfield.
However, he failed. Chris Klein’s long ball found Bowen, who then knocked a cross to teammate Mike Magee, who scored for the first time in 2010.
John’s gaffe was indicative of how badly the entire team played. So it wasn’t a big surprise when FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman called his team’s performance the worst he’d seen since becoming head coach in June 2008.
Right after the game, John was asked about the play in question, and to his credit, the second-year defender stepped up and took responsibility.
“I take responsibility for it—no excuses," he said. "It was a bozo play on my part trying to pull offsides so far up the field. I don’t know if he was offsides or not—it doesn’t matter if it’s offsides or not. It was just a mental mistake there that cost us the game.”
Before Hyndman arrived in FCD and for good parts of the 2009 season, accountability from a number of players became an issue. With that in mind, it's not surprising he's happy to hear John step up and take the heat for his error.
“He’s a great young player,” Hyndman said. “He’s got a great attitude. He doesn’t point the finger. He points it at himself. I took him through the video, showed him a couple things and talked to him a little bit about it.”
The FCD coach wasn’t just surprised that it was John making the mistake, but he was also taken aback because momentary mental lapses haven’t been a huge story so far this season. That was not the case in the past, as earlier in his tenure FCD had a trend of making mental errors that cost them points.
“There were two other things he could have done before he did what he did," Hyndman said. “It was a mistake and we got penalized for it. We have not made those kind of silly mistakes too often this year. That was a little bit surprising for me. I do give him credit for stepping up and saying that was all me.”
As far as John displaying the accountability Hyndman expects from his entire roster, the FCD coach feels it also says something more about his starting center back.
“I think it also says a lot about his character," Hyndman said. "If it happened last year, I would bet that he would have the same response. If it happens two years from now, I would bet it would be the same response. That is accountability but more importantly, that is a person with character.”
John’s admission of guilt also shows how far FCD has come under Hyndman.
“I think it makes it a lot easier to coach players who are not defensive and making excuses,” he said. “You’ve got to get past that before you can really have a valuable conversation.”