FRISCO, Texas — FC Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman expects the same New York Red Bulls but a different final result when the two teams meet on Sunday in their season opener (3 pm ET, NBC Sports Network).
New York eliminated a weary FC Dallas side in last year's Wilcard round of the 2011 postseason with a 2-0 victory at FC Dallas Stadium. And Hyndman believes that the Red Bulls will come out with the same game plan on Sunday.
“They want to stop Daniel Hernandez from getting touches," Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com after practice on Saturday afternoon. "He is a very important part of our team, and if they can stop him from getting touches, then we may not be as successful as far as making the right decisions.
"I think you’ll see them sitting back in level two defending and trying to shut Daniel Hernandez down. Last year, they had [Thierry] Henry following him everywhere. It was very physical, and we don’t like that.”
FC Dallas had a chance to avenge the playoff loss last month during preseason but once again fell to New York by a 2-0 scoreline in Cancun, Mexico.
For Hyndman, that match was another opportunity to gather information on the Red Bulls and their tendencies. The coaching staff, which has dissected Red Bulls video all week and catered practice sessions around specific findings, had a representative tracking the Red Bulls closely in Arizona following that preseason loss.
“We sent our assistant [John Ellinger] to scout them just to see what we might be prepared for," Hyndman said. “We are going to show video tomorrow morning before the game. We are prepared for the tendencies they like to do both offensively and defensively. We know how they hit their free kicks, so we’ll be as prepared for them as we would be for any other team throughout the year.”
In addition to defensive aspects, Hyndman wants to see his most dangerous attacking players threaten early and shake up a back line that will feature MLS debutant Markus Holgersson, who will likely be partnered by Stephen Keel.
“I think it’s going to be a different game for us this time," Hyndman said. "We need to keep possession of the ball and not get rattled. We have to find players early and when they're open. Our strike force also has to get it going earlier whether it be [Fabián] Castillo, Brek [Shea] or Blas [Pérez] in particular. They have to keep their defense under pressure.”