FRISCO, Texas – Thursday night’s 2-2 draw with Inter Milan won’t count in the MLS standings for FC Dallas, but there’s still plenty FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman can take away from a tie with the reigning European champs.
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“[It was] a great game. I thought FC Dallas came out and tried to compete against a very good team,” Hyndman said. “We came out and tried to take the game to them. We were able to keep some good ball possession. I think it was a very good performance on our part … and I think we rose to the level of competition.”
All told, Hyndman used 19 different players in the game, but a highlight was the debut of 18-year-old defender Moises Hernandez, whom FCD signed last Friday from their youth academy. Hernandez came on in the 85th minute for left back Jair Benitez.
“I’m particularly happy about getting Moises on the field,” the FCD manager said. “Of course, you can imagine the nervousness on his part, but I thought he did extremely well. I think that’s a huge statement for our academy program and the job that our coaches do with the young players.”
A number of starters delivered solid games for Hyndman. However, the consensus was that left-sided midfielder Brek Shea, who played 83 minutes before leaving for Peri Marosevic, was the player of the game for FCD.
“Every game he gets better. Every game he plays with more confidence,” Hyndman said. “Today, he had a very good game against a pretty good defense. I think he probably had the most scoring chances of anybody on our team and that’s because he’s putting himself in those positions. He’s not worried about who he’s playing against; he’ll take on anybody at any time.”
For the most part, Hyndman employed the same starting 11 he uses in league play, but with two major exceptions: Dario Sala started in goal and Eric Avila played the linking midfield role.
As a matter of fact, it was the third-year midfielder who assisted on John’s goal just before the break, and Avila’s solid performance did not escape the ever-watchful eye of his head coach.
“We really wanted him to be a little bit more effective, take a little bit more interest in his career and be more effective on both sides of the ball,” Hyndman said. “I thought he did extremely well not only in his defending [and] holding his shape, but [also in] the amount of times he kept possession and made penetrating runs with the ball.”
Perhaps the nicest surprise of the night, though, was John’s first goal of 2010, one that the defender celebrated by shadowboxing with the corner flag.
“It’s about time I scored a goal this year,” the FCD center back said. “Seventeen games now and I hadn’t gotten one yet. It was nice to get one against a club like Inter. Hopefully, I can continue and get some goals in league play.”
John, who is in his second year in MLS, called getting a chance to play a full 90 against an epic club like the Nerazzurri a once in a lifetime experience.
“It was definitely a great experience. It was just a great soccer experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” John said.