FRISCO, Texas — There was a certain spring in the step of the FC Dallas players returning to the training pitch Monday at Pizza Hut Park following a four-day break. And head coach Schellas Hyndman was thrilled about it, considering his Dallas side is on a four-game losing run.
“The break was perfect timing,” Hyndman said. “The first exercise that we did, we looked like a team that had life in the legs and it was obvious. But also it was great for them mentally to get a break.”
The team trained for nearly two hours concluding with a finishing activity that saw Ruben Luna, Maicon Santos and Ricardo Villar score on multiple opportunities in front of goal – a good sign for a team only five minutes from setting a new franchise scoreless record of 365 minutes.
Center back Ugo Ihemelu admitted that things haven’t been easy for the squad over the past month.
“It’s been frustrating, but that’s soccer,” the veteran said. “Just like life, you’re going to have your up and downs and you just have to try and stay as positive as you can and keep the eye on the prize which is making the playoffs.”
Ihemelu also revealed that the entire squad had a team lunch with team captain Daniel Hernandez and goalkeeper Kevin Hartman before heading off in their separate ways for the long weekend. Both veterans spoke briefly after the meal, trying to liven the spirits of the slumping team.
“Daniel and Hartman said a little something after we were all done eating,” Ihemelu continued. “They just tried to put things in perspective and stay positive and lets enjoy our break, get our heads off the season for a little bit and then come back refreshed and ready to go.”
Shea staying put
While the majority of FC Dallas rested over the weekend, 21-year-old midfielder Brek Shea continued to impress head coach Jurgen Klinsmann with the US national team playing the full 90 against Honduras Saturday night.
Shea was effective in his third consecutive start since Klinsmann took over the US national team and consistently provided crosses from the flank.
He also missed scoring his first goal when he slipped over the ball with the goal at his mercy.
“We’d love to see him finish that opportunity,” Hyndman said. “That would have been historic for him getting that goal. ... He just doesn’t have the energy to do the things that we know he can. I think he needs more and more time and hopefully they don’t wear him down against Ecuador.”
This week has seen several transfer rumors reported in the British papers, including links to English Premier League clubs Manchester City and Liverpool as well as a few Bundesliga clubs.
“I don’t think it surprises anyone because he is such a good player,” the head coach said. “Right now, Brek is a part of FC Dallas. We’re looking for Brek to be a continuing part of FC Dallas, and so for us to talk about transfers is really a waste of a conversation.”
Robert Casner covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com.