Soccer Sensei Q&A - May 17, 2011

Tuesday was FC Dallas’ first training session of the week after Monday’s recovery day. With the club having Wednesday off, there really isn’t much to report.

Speedy midfielder Marvin Chavez wasn’t there but he had a good excuse. There were also several players on the side, a group including captain Daniel Hernandez and forward Maykel Galindo. Here’s a quick exchange with the gaffer after training with the following high points:

Jackson Distracted?

Chavez’s Absence

Castillo a ROY Candidate?

Q: Discuss Jackson’s performance since the red card at Columbus.

Hyndman: Jackson’s great. We really like him a lot but unfortunately, he’s just losing a little bit of focus. The focus that he’s losing is because he’s getting married. The way it’s set up is he has to get the church. He’s doing all the wedding arrangements here and he’s going back to Brazil to get married. So, it’s a situation where his mind is constantly going from here to there and we’re trying to get him focused a little bit.

The red card, I think the conversations that we’ve had with him as far as staying focused and staying grounded, I think he understands that we want the same Jackson that we had last year, not the one that’s going different places and he’s really adjusted well for that.

Q: So, will he miss a game or two because of his wedding?

Hyndman: We’ll make an announcement at some point in time.

Q: Where’s Chavez today?

Hyndman: Marvin went to the dentist. He had a cavity. I think it turned out to be more than one cavity. We wanted to have that taken care of. It’s been bothering him and we knew he was going to miss training today. We have a day off tomorrow, so this is a nice time for him to use for the surgery.

Q: Would you call Castillo a legit MLS Rookie of the Year candidate?

Hyndman: Yeah, I think he’ll continue to get the attention I’m sure. But you look at the last two games and it’s been pretty amazing as far as what he’s done for the success of the team. The LA game [he played well]. I thought he had a good game against Toronto and then, this game. I think he’s doing some nice things.

The thing is that I always want to be cautious that I’m talking about an 18-year-old and the pressures that some 25-year-olds cannot handle in this league. It’d be very unfair to put him at a position where the expectations are so high that anything less is a failure.

Q: Talk about Daniel Hernandez missing practice today.

Hyndman: One of the things that I had hoped for was that we would be able to give Daniel some more downtime, recovery time because he’s such an important part of our team. He’s also such an important part of that whole coordination between players, leadership but his body can only take so much. The way he plays, he plays so hard and so aggressive that there are bound to be some injuries somewhere. We just have to make sure that we don’t overwork him in training.

Q: Could Jair Benitez possibly return this week?

Hyndman: It’s a possibility, sure. I think he’s improving. He just has one little issue right now and that’s when he sprints, he feels a little bit of tightness in the hamstring, which is where the tendon was connected to. For him, it’s going to be the next few days. We’ll make some judgments.

Q: What is Milton Rodriguez’s status for the game on Sunday?

Hyndman: Milton, I don’t think he’s going to be ready. I don’t think Milton’s going to be ready. He’s making some progress but he’s unable to sprint. And most of us who have watched Milton this year have probably said he looks a step slow.

Q: What about Maykel Galindo’s condition?

Hyndman: This is the first time he’s been out for training. I think Galindo’s probably more realistically two weeks away.

Q: How has Eric Alexander done in the two games since he’s been back in the first 11?

Hyndman: Good. Eric had a slow start for us but there really weren’t a lot of opportunities for him in the center midfield. When you think about all the players that we have there and we were going very highly with Avila but now that we look at the system that we’re using and we’re looking at more of an aggressive, defending, attacking style, I think Eric Alexander seems to fit there a little bit better.

Q: Is it good to have a full week of training, especially after having a short week last week and another short week looming after Sunday?

Hyndman: Yeah, it really is. Like today, I think we got a lot of things done in training. We got a lot done in training today. Yesterday, we got a lot done even though it was a recovery day. Taking a day off tomorrow but we can kind of work our way back into good form for our game. It’s on Sunday but then, we turn around and leave Monday. We play Wednesday. We leave Thursday. We play Saturday, so it’s a tough couple games coming up for us on the road.

Q: Talk about facing another top team in the West on Sunday in Real Salt Lake.

Hyndman: Very good team. They had an unfortunate injury to Morales as we did to David. They did so well with the CONCACAF championship, so they’re further ahead than any team in the league. They’ve also played less games than anybody in the league due to the CONCACAF schedule. Well-coached team, good team, solid, good bench. The thing that I’m just so pleased about is what I’m getting out of our team. We’re getting the results but we’re also getting great effort from players.

Q: How does it feel to be second in the West now?

Hyndman: That’s fantastic. If we can stay there for most of the year, we’d be extremely happy. We also know the strength of the league and the parity of the league. We’ve got guys playing so well right now. We’re doing the best that we think we can potentially be doing.

Still not playing the quality that we want. We give the ball away too much. In the attacking third, we don’t have as much patience. But gee, any team that’s playing against us has to be nervous when you’ve got Castillo and Chavez and Brek Shea running at you. That’s three pretty good players coming at you with some ability and speed.

Q: What did you think about Castillo’s dribbling sequence vs. Philly?

Hyndman: I thought that was amazing. I thought Castillo was amazing on that play. I watched it again last night. He left three players. He ran by three players like he was coming out of a rocket and gave a perfect ball to Brek that he finished which was the game-winning goal. And then he comes back and scores a great header. I think he shows fantastic moments and what we need to do is extend those moments a little bit longer.

Q: How has Bruno Guarda fared as a late sub over the last few games?

Hyndman: If we’re going into what kind of looks like a 4-4-2 or a 4-1-4-1 depending on the game, I need someone that’s going to continue battling in the midfield. If you look at our team, it’s a little bit different than it was last year. Even though we battled last year, we didn’t have the same character. I think Andrew Jacobson is a battler. I think Daniel Hernandez is still a battler. So I needed somebody to make sure that they’re working with them not hurting them because if I put in a player that doesn’t battle, then the other players have to pick up the percentage that he’s not doing. So we’re trying to ingrain that identity into our team.

Q: How do you feel about your club’s current level of possession in games?

Hyndman: Well, we worked on that today. I think first of all, it’s a realization that you’re playing a little bit different. Who was the guy that had the most touches on the team last year/ David. Who’s the guy that kept the ball and very seldom if ever lost the ball? David. You pull him out, who’s going to step up and do that job? We can’t really find that player and then we’ve got two guys up front that are very hyper. They’re explosive, hyper and they’re going 100 miles an hour. And it’s OK because they’re getting results but when you go that fast, you’re going to give balls away.