Having secured a playoff berth with a 3-0 win against the Chicago Fire on Saturday, FC Dallas returned to the adidas Field this morning with renewed ambition.
“I asked the guys a few games back, ‘do we have what it takes to compete for the Supporters’ Shield?’” FC Dallas Head Coach Schellas Hyndman said. “If we don’t challenge ourselves, we have reached our goal and the season dies there. I won’t let that happen.”
Not satisfied with just tying Jaime Moreno for the all-time MLS scoring title (132), Jeff Cunningham remained with the reserve team while the first team completed a recovery session on an adjacent field.
Target forward drill
The first drill of the day began with a goal kick from either MLS Pool Goalkeeper Chris Sharpe or Josh Lambo, who made his first appearance at an FC Dallas practice since being loaned to the U.S. Soccer Federation D-2 Tampa Bay Rowdies (Lambo is not eligible to play for FC Dallas for the remainder of the season, as there is not a roster position available since FC Dallas acquired defender Jackson Goncalves).
The goal kicks were played out wide to midfield. There, a player would bring the ball down with their first touch and play the ball into the middle of the pitch with their second touch. The middle player would receive the pass and look to play a one-two with a target forward that was checking off his defender near the top of the box.
Once the target forward played the ball back to the central midfield player, he would make a run in behind the defense. Once the player in central midfield received the return-pass from the target forward, he would look to chip a ball over the head of the defense for one of the two target forwards to run onto. The forwards receiving the pass were in alone on goal. Lambo and Sharpe did well to keep the pressure on the attacking players. They each made several stops.
High-pressure game in the 18-yard box
Hyndman moved the goals to either side of the area for two teams of six to play an intense scrimmage.
Davies put away the first goal of the scrimmage for the blue team followed by Leyva, who fit a shot into the tightest of spaces at the near post. Cunningham set up Avila on the right flank to close out the first of three games, 3-0 in favor of the blue team. Avila smashed a shot to the far post behind Sharpe for the win.
The second game was more intense. The orange team went up 1-0 thanks to Wiedeman, who was hammering the ball all morning. From 25-yards, the forward hit a line drive into a crowd in front of goal. The crowd dove out of the way at the last second, leaving Lambo screened to the shot, which whizzed over his head. Yeisley came right back to equalize for the blue team. He muscled through a tackle before hitting a ball just inside the near post to make it 1-1.
Going the other direction, Luna used his body to shield a defender and hit a ball past Lambo on the half-volley from close range. It looked to be over a few seconds later, but Lambo went post-to-post to make a save on a sure goal. With the orange team dominating possession it was only a matter of time before George John hit the back of the net to hand the second game to the orange squad.
The rubber match began with another goal from Wiedeman. Yeisley picked Cunningham out at the back post for an easy finish to make it 1-1 before Guarda gained a bicycle-kick opportunity at the near post for the orange team. The Brazilian did not disappoint, scoring on a textbook bike to the near post. The highlight reel goal scored additional momentum for the orange side, who got a goal off a deflection from Luna to claim the second win.
Hyndman on getting FC Dallas into the playoffs after two years
"When you don’t find success, it is natural to begin to doubt yourself. I try not to stay there. Every day since I got here, I have been trying to get this team into playoffs."
Hyndman on Brek Shea being at U.S. National Team camp this week
"For Brek, I thought this was another wonderful opportunity to build up his confidence. We have some injury issues, but they are not at that position."
Hyndman on playoff experience
"Experience is important. Why don’t American coaches get jobs coaching in the English Premier League? They have no experience at that level. We don’t have much MLS playoff experience, but teams have been telling me games with us feel like playoff games. We’ve been bringing it. If teams feel like they can play with us, they need to bring it."