After playing a demanding schedule and collecting a rash of injuries, there’s one thing FC Dallas needed more than a win on Saturday night in San Jose: rest.
Though they achieved that by leaving some key contributors at home, the team FCD trotted out was soundly defeated 4-2 by the Quakes in their MLS regular-season finale.
WATCH: Full Match Highlights
With his team competing in their franchise-record 47th game of the season, manager Schellas Hyndman made the decision to rest a few key starters. A group of regulars, including Brek Shea, Kevin Hartman and Daniel Hernandez, did not make the trip.
“Some of the players we left at home are injured,” Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the match. “They wouldn’t have been at their best, and we might have made the injury worse. And a couple of them we just wanted to rest.”
Ricardo Villar, a regular in the midfield, suffered a first-half foot injury in Tuesday’s 3-0 CONCACAF Champions League loss to Toronto FC. In the same game, leading scorer Shea landed awkwardly on his neck, adding injury to his already tired legs.
“Brek Shea has played so many games and traveled so far with the national team," said Hyndman. "If we’re going to find any success in the playoffs, we want Brek to be lively."
After Real Salt Lake settled for a draw against Portland earlier in the evening, a win by Dallas would have secured the third seed in the Western Conference and a spot in the Conference Semifinals. But just minutes after the game went final in Utah, the Earthquakes scored four first-half goals in a span of 12 minutes, putting the game out of reach.
“We made a few basic mistakes in the back, and it just caught up to us,” said Hyndman.
The loss locks Dallas into the first Wild Card position, where they will play host to either Houston or New York on Wednesday night at Pizza Hut Park. Regardless of their opponent, defender George John knows the team must improve to reach their second consecutive MLS Cup final.
“We just need to regroup as a team and follow the leadership of our captain Daniel Hernandez and coach Schellas," John told MLSsoccer.com. "I have the utmost faith in our coach and the leadership of our team that they will lead us in the right direction. We’ll be more than prepared for Wednesday.”