FRISCO, Texas – After a span of three games in eight days, FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman is giving his team an extra day off this week to give his players some much needed – and deserved – rest.
FCD will be off on Tuesday and Wednesday before returning to training on Thursday in advance of a trip to face D.C. United on Saturday. They toppled the Philadelphia Union 3-1 over the weekend, extending their unbeaten streak to nine matches.
“I think it’s a combination of two things,” Hyndman said. “First, we’ve been going at it so hard. Even today, we’re going at it hard. Second thing is we had three games in eight days. We’re out there every day in this heat.
“We’re getting used to it, but it still drains you,” the coach added. “Pretty soon you show up and you don’t have the energy. I’m hoping to give them another day to recover.”
While Hyndman wants his players to stay away from the team facilities for the next two days, that doesn’t mean he wants them to lose their focus.
“[I told them] watch soccer and stay focused because we’ve got a tough game coming up at DC,” he said.
In Sunday’s 3-1 win over Philadelphia, starting center back Ugo Ihemelu suffered a concussion in the first half and had to leave the game about 20 minutes in. The veteran defender was sent to a local hospital where he underwent a CAT scan.
“I know he was at the hospital. They did a CAT scan with no issues,” Hyndman said. “His mother and sister took him home for the night. He didn’t know a lot of things yesterday, so we’re just going to have to wait and see how he goes through.”
Ihemelu was injured after he and the Union’s Kyle Nakazawa collided during an aerial challenge. The FCD defender’s teeth dug into the top of Nakazawa’s head, sending both players to the ground.
“He took a pretty good hit. He outjumped the guy by two feet but when he came down, he banged his head. The next head ball, he was like, ‘Whoa, where am I?’” Hyndman said. “That was when Daniel [Hernandez] yelled at me and said [Ihemelu] didn’t know where he was.
“We got him off the field and they scored. How important is he? You play down a man and you play out of structure.”
McCarty Still Bothered by Right Quad
In Thursday night’s 2-2 draw with Inter Milan, Dax McCarty came on in the second half for his first action since July 17 against Real Salt Lake. He didn’t dress for Sunday’s game against Philadelphia, however, and did not participate in Monday’s practice.
“The thing that’s frustrating is we played him on his OK. Against Real Salt Lake, he said he was OK and ready to go,” Hyndman said. “I think we made it worse [by playing him]. It’s frustrating for him and it’s frustrating for us. We’ve gone through three center midfielders and we’re trying to find the right one.”
A New Face in Training
Just a week after FCD signed three players from their youth academy to professional contracts, there was another FCD Juniors player, 17-year-old Jonathan Top, training with the first team.
Hyndman offered a quick scouting report on this talented youngster, who has been in camp with the US Under-18 team.
“I think he’s very similar to Ruben [Luna, one of the youth players just signed]. I see a lot of similarities,” he said. “Ruben was a pretty thick player, scored a lot of goals as that pure No. 9. I see Jonathan as being more mobile. He can come back to the No. 10, he can go out on the right; but, in his own right, [Top is] a nice player.
“It’s good to bring [the academy players] in to train with us before they go to school. Now we get a chance to look at them and they get a chance to feel this environment. For Jonathan, this is a pretty exciting day.”