FRISCO, Texas – When FC Dallas’ backup goalkeeper Dario Sala was ejected in the final stages of a 1-1 tie at Toronto FC last Saturday, that red card had implications that not even FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman could have foreseen.
Since Sala is not available for Saturday’s match at Colorado and the team’s No. 3 'keeper, 2008 first-round pick Josh Lambo, is on loan to the USSF D2’s Tampa Bay Rowdies, Hyndman knew he’d have to make a roster move to free up a spot for Lambo.
So, on Thursday afternoon, the FCD manager informed defender-midfielder Anthony Wallace, the ninth overall pick in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft, that he would be headed to the Rapids in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2011 and a conditional pick in 2012.
In just over three seasons in Frisco, Wallace appeared in 15 games, 11 of those starts. This season he has appeared in two contests for FCD with his most recent action coming on May 15 in Philadelphia, when he played the final minute of a 1-1 draw with the Union.
“I think it’s the most difficult thing-to bring a player into your office and say we’ve just traded you or we’ve just waived you," Hyndman said. "It may be my downside to my coaching career at the professional level because I toss and turn over this and it’s not easy."
The FCD manager revealed that the Rapids have been interested in the 21-year-old Wallace for over a month.
“They need help in that left fullback position,” Hyndman said. “It’s a great opportunity for Wally. This is what I explained to Wally – 'You’re a very good player but the thing that you want here, I’m unable to give you.'”
The FCD manager was in Houston earlier this week for coaches meetings surrounding the 2010 MLS All-Star Game and waited to return to tell him face-to-face on Thursday.
“He was blindsided," Hyndman said. "He was shocked but I think after the conversation and after I told him how much Colorado really wants him, he felt better.
“I really like him. He’s a good human being and I think he’s got great athleticism and potential. But you can only be a player for so long in practice. You need to play games. We’ll really miss him and our team will miss him. But I think this is the best thing for Wally.”
In 2007, then FCD head coach Steve Morrow took Wallace with the ninth overall pick in the SuperDraft. He brought an incredible dose of physical ability to MLS but in over three seasons at FC Dallas, he was never able to put it all together into a complete package.
“He was drafted very highly and I think the expectations might have been a little bit more demanding on him than reality,” Hyndman said.
One scenario that could have avoided Friday's trade would have involved using the league’s emergency goalkeeper. However, there was a sizeable sticking point with that scenario given FC Dallas plays Colorado at Dick's Sporting Goods Park this Saturday.
“They have pool goalkeepers, but he is training in Colorado," Hyndman said. "I just didn’t feel comfortable bringing him in."
As for Lambo, he was scheduled to train with FCD on Friday morning but wasn’t in attendance because of travel issues from Tampa.
“He may meet us at DFW [Airport],” Hyndman said. “We really want him to feel more comfortable. But he was just here a couple of weeks ago, so that’s of help.”
The Wallace trade also brings up the question about whether a new player is about to be added to the FCD roster once Sala returns from suspension. The name most likely to come up is Jackson, a Brazilian defender who was on trial with the team in June.
“He’s on our list," Hyndman admitted. "There are two to three players that we realistically think could help our team."