FRISCO, Texas – Despite back-to-back wins in league play and major improvements since their dreadful September, FC Dallas crashed out of the CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday night, falling flat in a 3-0 loss to Toronto FC.
And for FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman, the explanation for a resounding rout at home was pretty simple: They were beaten by a better team on the night that wanted it more.
“Going into it, I thought we had the guys motivated and ready to play,” he told reporters after the match, “but Toronto just came out harder and we could never match their energy.”
But energy alone wasn’t the deciding factor. Even before the start of the second half, when Ricardo Villar was replaced due to injury, Dallas had very little luck connecting passes through the middle of the field. The solution was to try to lean on FCD’s speed, a tactic that didn’t pan out.
“Losing Villar definitely changed things, and we started sending balls over the top trying to find one-v-one situations where we could use our speed to open things up,” Hyndman explained, “[but] we just weren’t getting bodies forward to support those runs.”
The change in style of play is something Hyndman said needs to be addressed if the team is going to make another deep run into the MLS Cup playoffs. That Dallas have been clearly exhausted during their long summer and early autumn may be another factor, but Hyndman didn’t blame Tuesday’s loss on fatigue.
“[Toronto have] played just as many games as we have,” he noted. “We just didn’t compete as hard as they did tonight, but I don’t think it’s because we were tired.”
Tired or not, Dallas will certainly be ready to put this game behind them and focus their attention on the looming postseason, which begins after a regular-season ending trip to San Jose on Saturday.
“For Toronto, this was all they had left to play for, so of course they’re going to come out and play as hard for it as they did, and they deserved the win,” Hyndman said. “We’re disappointed to lose but we know we have an important game Saturday and playoffs after that, so we have to move forward.”