Soccer sensei q&a: June 13, 2011

Nothing practice-related since today was a recovery day after yesterday evening’s 4-1 loss to Kansas City but did catch up with the Soccer Sensei afterwards and here’s what he had to say.

Are there any positives you can take away from the 4-1 loss to Sporting KC?

Hyndman: Yes, there is one, that game’s behind us. That’s the positive. That one’s done.

Your team gave up several soft goals in that loss. Do you consider that an anomaly?

Hyndman: Yeah, I would hope so. It kind of reflected back to my first year here. The first few months I was here, every mistake led to a goal and it just seemed like it was disorganized.

Yesterday, we had too many people that were off. It’s one thing to have one guy off in the defense because it creates a problem but I thought we had more than one off. It could be a combination of a tough May and then heat has worn us down. It could be a situation where we’re underestimating the opponent. They sat back in a 4-5-1. It’s hard to break a team down when they’re trying to go on the counter. We didn’t create enough chances. I thought just before halftime, we were really taking it to them but then halftime came and then they scored early, just too many basic mistakes but I hope it’s abnormal.

Did you have any inkling this might happen in training last week?

Hyndman: I thought we had a good week of teaching in training. Monday, we have our pretty focused coaches’ meeting. We have a coaches’ meeting every day but Monday is the one where we really focus on because we’re talking about our last performance, our concerns and our solutions.

Well, what has happened in this game has brought some different concerns. It’s not like we’ve got to finish better. We didn’t get that many chances. We’ve got to keep better possession. Now we’re talking about as a team we’ve got to step up and not let this rut happen again.

How do you think Jackson fared as a halftime sub?

Hyndman: I thought he did well. He was one of the bright spots.

What about your other halftime change, Milton Rodriguez?

Hyndman: It’s tough to judge. It’s hard to play against a team that’s got a lead on you and they’re still sitting back. They go down a man and they’re still sitting back. We got a lot of crosses in but unfortunately, we were pretty stagnant up front and weren’t able to get in front of them.

How do you feel Jair Benitez has performed since coming back from his knee injury?

Hyndman: I felt he had done really well considering he came back off a pretty bad knee injury. It was just a poor team performance and he was part of that team.

Is it good you guys have a short week before facing Chivas USA?

Hyndman: I think anytime you have a poor performance, you want to get it out of your system and get to the next game. The thing that hurts us is yes, it was a poor performance but it was also a home performance. Our fans deserve better than what they saw.

Is it good and bad to have the unbeaten streak end?

Hyndman: Well, I think there are two ways to look at it. You want the streak to go on forever. You really would.

When you look at the Mavericks season and winning the NBA championship, fantastic but they had some ups and downs through the year. What made them a champion was how they came through those ups and downs. So we have an opportunity now to put our best out there.

What can you do to help Castillo and Chavez be better in the final third?

Hyndman: Ideally, you would like Milton to have that speed and experience because he’s a true finisher and if he had that, he wouldn’t be here. He’d be somewhere else. You just have to understand you’re taking their best. Yes, you wish you had better finishing. We’re continuing to work on that. They’re both good enough players that they can continue to improve on it but for over a year, we’ve talked about getting that player, that striker that has that finishing ability and all those type of things. With the success we had last year, it was hard to think about getting anything like that out of the draft.

If you can just satisfy one need in the July transfer window, what would that be?

Hyndman: I have a lot of confidence in this team. We’d like to have another defender in case we have injuries. We’d like to have another playmaker because we don’t have David [Ferreira] and we’d like to have a striker, a pure striker. If you said to me, we can only have one, I think we would settle with that pure striker because we have Chavez who can go out wide, Castillo who can go out wide but we just need a clinical finisher with athleticism.

Are you guys going to look more internationally or maybe within MLS during the July window?

Hyndman: It’s really both right now. The Gold Cup has really got our interest. We see some really good players out there. Unfortunately, many of them are doing their own contracts or in contracts. Barry Gorman has been on the road probably the last 3 or 4 weeks looking at players.

Last summer, you talked about getting Jair Benitez a contract extension. Is there any news on that front?

Hyndman: I’m sure we have. Again, I stay out of those type of things. Right now, we’re pretty content with what we have and there are a few players we’re trying to re-sign. Doug Quinn and Barry are in constant conversations on that and then we have competition committee meetings to stay abreast of that as well.

If you had your way, would you rather see contract extensions done in season so that process doesn’t occupy anyone’s time during the off-season?

Hyndman: Of course, you’d love to do pre contracts and then you know what you have. You also wouldn’t have to put time and energy into finding players or the other side of it, somebody might pop up like how a Carlos Ruiz popped up for the Union at the last minute. They probably spent hours and hours on the road looking for a player and then, he just pops up.

You also have to be in the right place, the right time, the right lottery spot, all those things. With more and more success that your team has, the less those opportunities come. When Charlie Davies comes back, he’s not coming to Dallas. He’s going to one of the weaker teams in the league and when a Ruiz comes back, he’s not going to Dallas. He’s going to one of those teams.

For us and we talked about this quite a bit with the team today, we want to let this game be out of our mind. We want to move forward and see the best out of us. Now we want to see the FC Dallas team that everybody has grown to enjoy seeing come back.

This weekend will be your first time to face Heath Pearce since you traded him. How do you look back on that deal?

Hyndman: All moves are difficult moves when you’re dealing with people, characters and personalities. We as an organization felt it was the best move for us to be able to bring in a Castillo or somebody like a Castillo. You look at how well our defense has done up to now, you would say Castillo has helped and our defense has survived. We don’t have the depth. You can’t continue to have very high-profile, expensive players and then leave another segment of your team not completed.

For Heath, he’s doing well. They’re turning that team. I think he might be captain of the team, so he’s having an opportunity to be a leader. For Heath, games like this are an opportunity for him to focus all his energy on beating FC Dallas.

Ferreira is now in his walking boot. How’s he doing?

Hyndman: We don’t know. He’s just getting treatment. Is it two months away? Is it three months away? Is it four months away? Is it a season? We don’t know.

How often do you talk to him?

Hyndman: We try to catch up with him every day when he comes in for treatment.

What have those conversations been like?

Hyndman: How you doing? We miss you. Is there anything I can do. He knows he’s just got to go through his routine.

What is his current frame of mind? Is he chomping at the bit yet?

Hyndman: Not yet, I think he’s still in a lot of pain. This thing may be longer than I’d like it to be but on the other side, he’s really pleased at how well the team has been doing without him.