Ahead of the beginning of pre-season on Monday morning, FC Dallas boss Schellas Hyndman went on with my boys Steve Davis and Marc Stein on Soccer Today to chat about the season, Daniel Hernandez, Brek Shea, David Ferreira, Matt Hedges and the new unbalanced schedule. I've included some of the chat below but be sure to follow the link to hear the full interview, it's a must-listen.
Schellas was asked about selecting UNC center back Matt Hedges #11 overall...
We were really pleasantly surprised, we went throughout the whole year trying to identify players and the needs this team will have to have as we go into the season...We had four guys picked out(at center back), Matt was one of the four and we were really surprised that one of our top guys was still available.
Love to hear that Hedges was a guy they've been targeting for awhile. So often, it seems teams draft players they're really not that familiar with, grabbing them based on an impressive combine. Hedges is a guy FCD knows, and know how to best fit him into the system right away.
Schellas was then asked about the George John situation...
I think all managers want things in control, especially when you start out the season to plan your direction, your shape, plan your team and I think this is one of those that's really unable to plan....in reality it's probably 50-50 that's probably reality. If George does really well there and West Ham says he's a guy we really don't want to lose, I think it will happen right around March 1st.
This kind of confirms what we already know. Things are completely out of Schellas' hands and he can't stand that. If John impresses in England, they will purchase him as they push for promotion back to the Premier League. I think it's what everyone involved wants, though it would hardly be a sad conclusion to have him come back. I would say that no matter what happens, this winter needs to be the final resolution to the deal. If you come back in March, you're staying until the end of the season.
Later, the gaffer opened up on David Ferreira and his situation
David went through the whole season pretty frustrated and was hoping to come back just before the playoffs but he was still having a lot of irritation in his ankle and I think part of that was the injury, the surgery and then he started getting some calcium and bone spurs. Then we decided to go back and do another surgery on him late in the year to take care of the calcium and bone spurs.
Seeing him just before he took off for Christmas[he said] it was the best he felt as far as range of motion, confidence in his ankle and we hope to have him back playing reasonably well as we start off our season. We're hoping to have him in the starting lineup, if he's unable to go the full game that's understood but I think this team really needs David. We all see what he does on the field but the things that you don't see in the locker room and training sessions is his unbelievable ability to lead players. He's like a pied piper, he goes down one way and people get in line and follow him. That's what we really miss.
One of the most interesting things to be tracking this year is just how important David Ferreira really was to this team. You don't know what you got 'til it's gone and Ferreira's return may be one of the more underreported aspects of the beginning of the MLS 2012 season. FC Dallas could literally go from an MLS Cup favorite to a team struggling to reach the playoffs based on how Ferreira returns.
The last thing I'll quote here is Schellas when asked about the unbalanced schedule in 2012...
You'll get to know each other quite well and realize that's where your points are, you've got to do well in your conference, you've got so many games in your conference. I don't think we've got a lot of games on turf which we're happy about, most of those teams are coming to us more than we're going to them.
I think teams are going to have to start working some strategy of trading players. If you have a choice of trading a player, do you want to trade him to the east or to the west? We worked awfully hard trying to free up money for players, we moved Marvin Chavez and tried to move for a long time to move him to a team in the east but were unable to get the things we thought he was valued at.
It wasn't our favorite team to send him to, San Jose, a team we're going to be competing against three times but we've also worked ourselves into a situation where our team may be a little bit better competing in the west we know exactly what we have to do, we have to be 1-5 to get into the playoffs. The last three years I think you've seen the west has dominated the MLS. I'd expect that to happen again. We've just got to be prepared to play the teams in the west and recognize thats our real opponents.
Fascinating stuff from Hyndman about the schedule and trading Marvin Chavez. It really is going to become an MLB/NBA kind of thing where you don't want to trade players to other Western Conference teams. When looking at players within the league that Dallas may go after, more time should probably be spent looking at Eastern Conference opponents. The impact of trading someone to the east has become minimal in 2012 as you'll face that team just once in the regular season and no more than once in the playoffs.
There is tons more good stuff in the podcast so make sure to give it a listen.