Schellas XI: Making club history in Champions League
FRISCO, Texas — In our weekly series featuring Schellas Hyndman, the FC Dallas head coach addresses 11 topics in brief including Wednesday’s monumental Champions League win against Alianza FC, Jackson’s injury, center back Ugo Ihemelu and the recent trade for Maicon Santos.
I. FC Dallas made franchise history Wednesday night, defeating El Salvador’s Alianza FC and advancing to the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League.
“It’s a historic moment for FC Dallas. We are very proud of our team and it’s accomplishment.”
II. Alianza came into the game needing to score and while they fell short of their aspirations, Hyndman praised the Central American team.
“I really wanted to congratulate Alianza for a good series. They’re a worthy opponent, and we had to find a way to score tonight and our previous game with them to come away with this sort of moment.”
III-IV. It wasn’t FC Dallas’ sharpest game, but with more international competition looming in Group C, they will acclimate.
“To now go into phase play, as you know, it's some very, very good teams on our schedule. They’ll give us more games. We will get better, we’ll learn. Tonight was one of the first times for example that we’ve had international officiating and that’s again a learning process.”
V. In a game full of good news for the home team, bad news came late in the first half when Jackson was hit on the ankle by Herbert Sosa and forced to leave the game on a cart.
“Right now they did an X-ray and everything seems to be fine. He might have rolled his ankle, so we’ll just wait and see how that goes.”
VI. The 1-0 scoreline was the third straight one-goal game for FC Dallas as the team struggled with its finishing.
“The amazing thing to it is, if you score one goal and they don’t, you win.”
VII. Hyndman added that it was another shutout for Kevin Hartman and also credited Ricardo Villar for his 90 minutes. But more praise was in store for the central defenders.
“You can look at [Hartman and Villar], but I think you overlook it when you don’t recognize Ugo and George [John] and the tremendous job that those two did at center backs.”
VIII-IX. With temperatures in the 100’s for yet another game, not every FC Dallas player was able to put their best foot forward on the evening.
“I think what you saw tonight was a little bit of fatigue. Our players were making mistakes they don’t normally make. If you look at the month of July it might have been the hardest month in the history of FC Dallas. But they keep finding a way, don’t they?”
X. Before the return leg on Wednesday, FC Dallas made league-wide buzz Tuesday afternoon acquiring Brazilian forward Maicon Santos from Toronto FC—and he’s the first of a handful of new players, according to Hyndman.
“He’ll be with us on this trip and hopefully he will be eligible to play — he’ll get all his paperwork. And I think we are working very hard on maybe bringing in two more players.”
(Editor’s note: FC Dallas also signed 30-year-old Colombian Daniel Cruz from the Belgium Pro League on Thursday afternoon.)
XI. Finally, praise was in store for Wednesday’s lone goal-scorer, Ihemelu.
“He’s not only an excellent soccer player but he’s a tremendous human being. I think Jurgen Klinsmann needs to look at him seriously because I think he’s one of our better defenders in the country.”
Robert Casner covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @FCDallasBeatGuy