FRISCO, Texas — FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman has praised center backs Ugo Ihemelu and George John for their recent heroic performances against attacking players like Vancouver’s Camilo and Eric Hassli and the LA Galaxy’s Juan Pablo Ángel.
This weekend’s tilt at D.C. United brings another test for FCD's back-line duo as they'll face the league's leading scorer, Charlie Davies, and his accomplice, Josh Wolff (Saturday, 7:30 pm ET, FREE on Matchday Live). Ihemelu knows Dallas' defense will have to be at its best at RFK Stadium.
“We have to try and stay organized,” Ihemelu said as the team boarded a bus for Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. “[Davies and Wolff] both make really good runs. They are dangerous, which showed last game, where they each scored and got an assist.”
The DC duo have scored a combined eight goals, which accounts for two-thirds of United’s goal total. Against Seattle on Wednesday, Davies and Wolff each had nearly identical goals en route to DC’s 2-1 win.
“They do have a very good attack,” said Hyndman. “They had a very good win against Seattle, but I think our defense has been improving and getting Ugo and George healthy has been a really bright spot for us.”
The spotlight is on Davies, who uses his blistering pace to make front and back post runs, causing all sorts of trouble for opposing team’s defenses.
“I think he is a very good player and [United] are learning to play through his strengths, which is his speed and quickness,” said Hyndman. “I think they are trying to put balls between the ‘keeper and the last defender and he is too quick of a player not to get in there, so he’s definitely a big threat for us.”
In the past two games, FC Dallas’ defense has turned itself around, allowing just two total goals after giving up two or more three times in the first five games.
In addition to high remarks for Ihemelu and John, Hyndman also praised 'keeper Kevin Hartman and midfielder Andrew Jacobson for their recent performances, as they have helped FCD win two of their last three games. But even with a staunch defensive line as of late, Hyndman knows United are going to bring the kitchen sink, much as they did against Seattle.
“I think that was a big game for them to win,” he said. “I think they are going to come into with the same type of mentality. They are going to try to high press us. They are going to put everything on the field, which you would expect from Ben Olsen’s team.”