April 18, 2009 MLS FC Dallas story about coach Schellas Hyndman (from MSLnet.com)

Hyndman hoping to build momentum against TFC
FC Dallas head coach looking to gain second consecutive result
04/18/2009 07:34 PM
By Steve Hunt / MLSnet.com Staff

FRISCO, Texas -- When FC Dallas plays host to Toronto FC on Sunday at Pizza Hut Park in the rematch of their home-and-home series started last weekend, they hope the first meeting was something to build on.

Last Saturday at BMO Field, FC Dallas came away with their first point of 2009 thanks to a 1-1 draw. FCD outplayed the Reds for much of the afternoon but looked poised for a fourth consecutive loss to begin the season until Pablo Ricchetti's back heel goal with about 10 minutes left bailed them out and netted a much-needed point.

It was a performance FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman hopes to see his club replicate.

"We're hoping and wanting to continue to capitalize on that result," FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman said. "We're at home and they're away from their 20,000-plus fans. It should be more of a comfort zone for us and I think we believe in ourselves. This is a team that I think when things go well for them, they will believe in themselves, they'll play more freely and take pressure off themselves. There are some positive steps that we're making."

Hyndman could do a bit of tinkering with his back line on Sunday. Marcelo Saragosa, who had won the starting job at right back in preseason before being sidelined with a knee injury, has returned to practice and could supplant Michael Dello-Russo, who has performed well in the last two matches guarding the right flank.

"I think Saragosa could very well be playing this weekend," Hyndman said. "The thing I like about the guy is that he's a warrior, a guy that will go through a wall for you. I think in the last few days of training, he's looked fine to me. He'll be a day-to-day and could very well see Toronto."

The FCD coach could also plug Daniel Torres back into the lineup, possibly at left back for the inconsistent Blake Wagner.

"I think he's going to challenge a lot of people. We didn't bring him in here for his good looks," Hyndman said. "We brought him in here to be a soccer player and to help us find success. He's a competitive player that has been around, so it's not going to be easy for him to disappear. So I would expect him to challenge Blake on the left side. I would expect him to challenge both George (John) and Drew (Moor) in the center. It will make everyone better with somebody behind him."

One place where he will not make changes is in the central defense, where the rookie John and the veteran Moor have become an effective combination for FCD.

"I think George has done everything we've asked him to do," Hyndman said. "I'm in a comfortable position now with George John. I wasn't in such a comfortable position before New England because he was not tested, but he's gone against some pretty good players with good athletic ability and has done well. There are people who get frustrated with him because he's a big, strong boy that has a lot of confidence. He's not going to get pushed around and I think we need some of that."

TFC might or might not have Dwayne De Rosario for the contest. De Rosario, who had the Reds' only goal in last week's tie, left the match late with a tight hamstring and has not practiced for much of the week.

FCD is already 0-2 at home this year, scoring just once while allowing five goals in back-to-back losses to Chicago and Chivas USA to start the season. However, Hyndman's players hope their struggles in Frisco are now a thing of the past.

"We want to do well at home," FCD forward Kenny Cooper, who leads the team with two goals, said. "This is an opportunity for us to hopefully get our first home win at home. Like any team, we want our home to be our fortress and hopefully we can get a win this weekend."

Both Cooper and midfielder Dax McCarty agree that last week's performance could be a building block for the future.

"We're still looking for our first win," Cooper said. "I think that we had a really good performance last week and showed a lot of perseverance and character. Hopefully last week's performance is a turning point for us and we can hopefully just build upon that good performance last weekend."

Added McCarty: "We obviously got a pretty good result out of a really tough game up there in Toronto. It was a fight up there and we showed a lot of character to come back and get a result. We know what to expect from them and can pretty much prepare the exact same way that we prepared for them before with maybe a few adjustments here and there."

The FCD midfielder did see several issues from that game that Hyndman has addressed in this week's sessions.

"I think that (their long throw-ins) are what caused the most problems," McCarty said. "That and them being able to counterattack against us a little bit were the main threats that we felt. We have tried to adjust some of those things in training. You've just got to prepare for their playmakers and their attacking options. We've been preparing for them and feel like we're ready. We're obviously looking to get three points at home if we can do that."

Hyndman could also tinker with his midfield, where new addition Alvaro Sanchez could make his MLS debut on the right flank. He would replace Andre Rocha, who last year led FCD with eight assists but this season has been inconsistent. Sanchez could also start at the attacking midfield spot, supplanting Dax McCarty, which would likely leave Rocha in the first 11.

Either way, it looks like FCD is set up top with Cooper and David Ferreira, who moved to forward two games ago after starting the year as the No. 10.

Steve Hunt is a contributor to MLSnet.com.

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