Possession key for FCD as summer temperatures rise

FRISCO, Texas — The FC Dallas midfield appears to be warming up just in time for summer.

FCD held the possession for roughly 60 percent of their 1-0 win over visiting New England last Saturday, further signifying that Schellas Hyndman’s team has solved the riddle of how to keep winning as the temperatures start to soar.

“At the beginning of the season we were working really hard and got some great results,” midfielder Andrew Jacobson said. “I think playing that way — where we had like 35 percent possession and still winning — is tough to do for a season, especially in the heat.”

During a busy seven-game stretch in May, FC Dallas hit the training field when time permitted to create better cohesion. The result is a four-man midfield finding its niche on the pitch.

Jacobson roams in between both 18-yard boxes and wins challenges in between. Captain Daniel Hernandez is having a career year, making goal-saving tackles and communicating efficiently.

On the flanks, Eric Alexander and Brek Shea control and share the ball with the forwards to generate the attack.

“Sometimes, when teams are possession teams, you can just kind of let them do it and they’re not dangerous,” Jacobson said. “But we have really dangerous guys that can change a game like what you saw what Marvin [Chávez] did.”

Chávez scored the game-winning goal Saturday night after FC Dallas had numerous scoring opportunities in addition to their best possession game of the year.

“I thought from a possession standpoint it was our best game,” said Shea after Wednesday’s training. “We kept the ball and tried things and things worked.”

Jacobson, in his first season with FC Dallas, added that possession plays mind games on the opponent.

“If you can keep possession like that, you can really wear teams down and get a lot of chances,” added Jacobson. “Then they get all out of whack defensively, so when they win the ball, they are all out of whack offensively too.”

And in the Texas heat that regularly reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit, possession can be damning.

FC Dallas are currently riding a nine-game unbeaten streak, only a year after they reeled off an MLS–record 19-game unbeaten streak.

During the team’s streak in 2010 — which stretched from May 27 to Oct. 16 — FCD was a nearly spotless 6-0-3 at Pizza Hut Park.

Coincidentally, the current streak is holding strong as the hottest months approach, and the team’s possession becomes its most valuable commodity.

“Not only are we dangerous, but when we possess we can get it to those guys who change the game,” Jacobson said.