FRISCO, Texas — With two games left in the regular season and a playoff berth already in the books, FC Dallas have another goal to reach in the next two weeks: consistent performances.
They get their chance when they try to build on Wednesday’s 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire with a home game on Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps (8:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
“Our goal is to continue to find success,” head coach Schellas Hyndman said after the team’s run-through session at Pizza Hut Park on Friday. “I think with Vancouver coming in, they’re probably playing their best soccer right now. But like I said to the boys, their season is over in two games so they can put all their energy into these two games and not think about anything else.”
FC Dallas can catch Real Salt Lake for the third spot in the Western Conference and avoid the play-in round while capturing home-field advantage in the conference semifinals.
So even with the pressure to reach the postseason gone, the work doesn’t stop.
“Getting through this game is putting us in a position where we’ll continue to help ourselves,” Hyndman said. “If Real Salt Lake doesn’t do well, we even have an outside chance on moving up, so I think for us it’s just getting better and playing at our best.”
The team’s energy level looks like it’s returning to its early-season form after their midweek win in Chicago. And more than anything, Dallas want to keep the momentum going forward.
“The results obviously are important, but [we have] to keep playing well,” said midfielder Andrew Jacobson. “[We want to] gain a little momentum going into the playoffs. Having those days off really showed, just keep that going and stay consistent because we’re going to need it in the playoffs.”
Dallas encounter a confident Whitecaps team that moved itself out of last place in the league with a win Wednesday night over D.C. United.
“What they have to worry about is fighting for their jobs next year, so that’s going to be a great personal motivator for them,” said Hyndman.
Shea growing with national team
Brek Shea returned to Dallas with his teammates following two friendlies with the US national team and a second-half cameo against the Fire. The big Texan was full of smiles and positive things to take from his time under US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
“It was fun,” said the 21-year-old. “It was good to see the guys again, be back under Jurgen, and get two games.”
Hyndman still sees a tired Shea but has been impressed with the improvements made by the midfielder upon returning from each of the past two camps.
“Every time he comes back from the national team camp, he’s tired but it looks like his level of play is getting sharper,” Hyndman said. “I don’t think we’ve seen the same Brek Shea that we saw two months ago and I think that’s a lot of fatigue, but I think what we’re seeing now is a lot more confidence.”
Shea spoke of his friendship with fullback Timothy Chandler saying, “We both like to joke around a lot, so there was a lot of banter going on all the time.”
He also agreed with Hyndman’s prognosis.
“I think getting with those guys because their level is so high, it raises my level," he said of his time with the USMNT, "and I do feel like a better player when I come back.”
Robert Casner covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com.