FRISCO, Texas — With two consecutive shutout losses for the first time since early April, plenty of questions have arised about FC Dallas’ recent funk.
There’s the fatigue question that head coach Schellas Hyndman doesn’t enjoy discussing but admitted to after Saturday night’s loss to the New York Red Bulls. And then there’s the inability to field a full squad because of the increasing number of injuries.
“In my mind, I’ve always been trying to do a rotation,” said Hyndman after Monday’s recovery session. “As soon as I say that, we get injuries.”
Hyndman noted Brek Shea and Marvin Chávez’s injuries picked up while on national team duty as part of the list of setbacks. There’s also Fabián Castillo, who missed six weeks for the Under-20 World Cup only to return and suffer a hip injury. Castillo returned Saturday against the Red Bulls and played 37 quality minutes.
Add a lingering hamstring problem to Andrew Jacobson that will require offseason attention to the wear and tear of Zach Loyd’s body and FC Dallas appear thin all over the field.
Hyndman noted the absence of a wanted player from the mix as the starting point of their recent downhill slide.
“Where we started having issues was really when that whole thing with George [John] starting going on,” Hyndman stated. “Because now everybody else had to play more. But I think it’s not so much what’s going on, it’s just, can we get refocused?”
Shots, shots and more shots
In their past two games against the New England Revolution and New York Red Bulls, FC Dallas have outshot opponents by a combined scored of 36-19. And while they took a high number of shots in these games, only 25 percent of the combined attempts were on goal.
“How do you lose that game?” Hyndman asked of the New York match where FCD outshot RBNY 19-7. “Well, one way of losing the game is not finishing. The other way is not putting enough shots on goal, so we got to do a little bit better job on that.”
FC Dallas lead the league in shots taken with 415 but only 124 of the attempts have been on goal, good for eighth best in the league and also signifying the biggest drop in shot attempts to shots on goal to any other team in the league.
Midfielder Jacobson took a relatively positive approach to the Dallas attack.
“The encouraging thing is that we’re giving ourselves chances to score,” he said. “We’re not breaking teams down. It’s just that final act of scoring and it’s the toughest thing to do in soccer, scoring goals. It’s just not falling for us now.”
Monday’s recovery session marked Brek Shea’s first touch on the ball since Sept. 10 against the Revolution after a bout of fatigue and a hamstring injury.
“Once I got warmed up I felt good, and I was just excited to be playing again,” said the 21-year-old. “Sitting out and watching training is not fun, and so when I got out and was able to play, it was fun.”
Hyndman added that Shea “will be fine” for the important CONCACAF Champions League game on Wednesday vs. Pumas UNAM (8 pm ET, Fox Soccer).
Robert Casner covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com.