FC Dallas had their only training session of the week before heading to the airport in advance of their 2011 CONCACAF Champions League opener at Alianza FC in El Salvador on Thursday.
I caught up with FCD Head Coach Schellas Hyndman after practice and here’s the masterful bon monts he had to offer. Some of the highlights include an update on the status of linking mid Andrew Jacobson and some news on when new players might be joining the club via the July transfer window.
What is Andrew Jacobson’s status for this week?
Hyndman: We put him in late against New York and he said he was fine. After watching him play, I don’t think he was fine. So I think this week, he’ll probably be coming off the bench if we need him and if we don’t need him, we’re going to try and save him for the game this weekend.
How good has Ricardo Villar been playing of late?
Hyndman: I think he has a very good resume, played at a high level, and we expected that to be immediate. It again reinforces how difficult it is to make the adjustment in the league whether it’s officiating, whether it’s speed of play, whether it’s all the travel, whether it’s the intensity.
But I think he’s starting to figure things out and starting to add something.
What kind of atmosphere are you expecting on Thursday?
Hyndman: [Alianza] did very good in their last semester there. I think they finished one or two in their league. I think the atmosphere is going to be one where it’s just very international culture. Soccer is huge. I think the atmosphere is going to be pretty chippy whether it’s on the field or in the stands. I think we really need to keep our emotions intact.
Is there a different feeling going into the Champions League opener?
Hyndman: There really is an excitement. I think the excitement is to win this, these two games and to get into the next round. That’s the excitement. We deserve it. We did well last year, so now we’re in a position. All we’ve got to do now is carry through.
I wish things were a little bit different. I wish we were home. I wish we were healthy. I wish we didn’t have so many games but none of that is going to come through on my wish list, so I think right now what we need to do is go in there, be pretty excited about it and realize these two games are important to us.
What do you know about Alianza?
Hyndman: They did play a game at the Cotton Bowl yesterday and Marco Ferruzzi went to watch them. So we have a little bit of an idea. They also played the day before in Houston and he [Ferruzzi] has already got a contact there. So, he’s putting the information together but we don’t have any video or scouting reports.
But the thing that we do know is they’re going to be a heck of a team at home. I don’t know how they’re going to be on the road in this type of heat but I know they’re going to be a heck of a team at home because they’re going to be inspired.
We do know that their best striker, [Rodolfo] Zelaya, has been sold and that was a player that we had targeted to bring here. Unfortunately, he was sold to Russia for a lot more. So I don’t know how they’re really going to adjust without him but I would imagine the atmosphere will be electrifying. We just want to get down there tonight, get a good rest and have a good performance.
With the toll that Champions League took on Salt Lake, is there any concern about a similar hangover for your club?
Hyndman: We are thinking about it. We talked about it a month ago, how difficult the month of July is going to be with all the games, all the travel and how the guys are going to recover. We talk about player rotation. We talk about being emotionally intelligent, not to be putting ourselves in situations where we’re losing players to cards or injuries and then living a good life on the field and a good life off the field.
The thing is we’re going to go down for a pretty emotional game in a pretty hostile environment. We come back on Friday only to do a recovery day on Saturday. Then we’ve got a tough team in Chivas coming in. It just continues to wear you down. We have players that are nursing injuries right now that are giving me 90 minutes. What would we be like if we didn’t have to nurse those injuries and if they were fresh? So we need other players to step up a little bit. I think Bobby Warshaw, he’s going to be important for us this week because we want to give Daniel some recovery time. But at the same time, it’s tough.
It’s one of those things, you have to be careful what you wish for because you might get it. We want to be in this competition. We want to have more games. We want to be in the US Open Cup. We want all those things and it adds about a third of games into our season, so instead of playing the 34 games, now you’re playing another 16.
Where are you guys at as far as adding a player or two in the transfer window?
Hyndman: We’re close. As I said, we’re going to be active and we are active. We’re very close in getting one player and we hope to have two new players on this team by August 15.