FRISCO, Texas -- When Dax McCarty started for FC Dallas on Saturday night, it was his first game action against a league foe in almost a full month. The midfielder had missed FCD’s 2-0 win over San Jose on June 5, but was back in head coach Schellas Hyndman’s first 11 against Chivas USA.
McCarty had last played in a 2-2 draw at Chicago on May 27, when he had to leave early with a left hip pointer. Against the Goats, McCarty again had to leave early, replaced by Bruno Guarda after 59 minutes, but for a different reason.
“If you would use the word rusty, he was that player,” said Hyndman, who pointed out that the inactivity due to injury affected McCarty. “I thought he worked hard and did some good things but he uncharacteristically gave a lot of balls away and just wasn’t there when they started turning up the heat. I thought it would be good to get him off the field. He wasn’t at his best."
Earlier to Rise
On the morning of the US vs. Algeria game last week, Hyndman modified his club’s training schedule so that his players could watch the game as a team. Practice began at 7:15 am CT and ended approximately an hour later. The FCD coach, who himself is an early riser, liked the earlier start but admitted that beginning that early was likely a one-time thing.
FCD usually start training at 9:30 am and finish just after 11. However, this week, the team will begin training at 8:30 am CT and finish at around 10 am, when the hottest part of the day in North Texas is just beginning. It’s a schedule that Hyndman would like to adopt for the balance of the summer months.
“I’ve asked Daniel (Hernandez, the team captain) to get with the players to see what they want,” said Hyndman, who hopes that moving the training schedule up will allow them to stay out of the stifling Texas heat. “Starting at 7:15 or 7:30 was too early, but getting here at 8 and starting at 8:30, where we’re done at 10, it’s a lot cooler than it is at 11:30.”
Cunningham Still in the Plans
Some FCD fans might have been a bit surprised when Jeff Cunningham was left out of the starting lineup for Saturday’s game. Although the forward leads the team with four goals, all but one of those have come from the penalty spot.
Because Cunningham has struggled for much of the year, Hyndman opted to go with Atiba Harris up top and have Marvin Chavez fill in at right mid. It would be the Honduran who, in his first start of 2010, would be taken down in the box in the second half to set up David Ferreira’s penalty kick that proved to be the game-winner.
It was the second time this year that Cunningham had not played. After Harris’ and Chávez’s good performance, it might not be the last time the Jamaican misses some playing time. But despite Cunningham’s absence, Hyndman remains adamant that the talented scorer remains firmly in FCD’s plans.
“Jeff is a professional. He’s going to say the right things and do the right things,” the FCD coach said. “No player would be happy not starting after the career that they’ve had. Don’t tell me what you did last year, tell me what you’re doing now. That’s what I’m going on.
“The two games he hasn’t played—against Houston and Chivas—we got results. That’s what coaching this team is all about: results. But he’s a professional and he’ll bounce back. He’s still part of the team and we still have plans for him. We’ve just got to get better.”
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