SANDY, UT - MAY 26: Head coach of FC Dallas Schellas Hyndman talk to Jackson Goncalves #6 during a game against Real Salt Lake during the second half of an MLS soccer game May 26, 2012 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Real salt Lake beat FC Dallas 3-2. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
The situation is grim, make no mistake about it. Dallas have lost what seems like every game since the matchup against Montreal, and they have done close to nothing to reverse the awful run they are on. With all of the losing that has been going on, some fans have been calling for the head of Schellas Hyndman in an effort to salvage the season and/or turn the results around.
This just may be my pessimism speaking, but the season is already shot. Lung-shot, if you will. They can recover, but the chances are very slim.
Steve already outlined the major hurdles coming our way while explaining the points situation: It's bad. Installing a new coach midseason almost rarely reverses course and is usually a move to assure the fans that change is on the way. Do we need a head coaching change?
You mean to tell me you want to fire the manager that, with largely the same core, won the 2010 MLS Manager of the Year award? The Manager who set us up for success and beat Pumas UNAM at their own stadium? The manager who trained and helped develop Zach Loyd and Brek Shea? You want to fire the manager that constructed an entirely different system after Ferreira went down last season and managed to go on a killer run that put us in the top three or four in the league for most of the year?
Schellas did indeed make mistakes last year, but he seems to have learned from them. He is rotating his squad (what tattered bits of it remain) more frequently, trying out different lineups to find the best form and is giving the home grown players much more time than before. Sure, some of this is borne of injury but a lot of it also comes from these very same players impressing mightily in reserve matches. Hedges has been a hell of a find and Leyva is loads better than the youngster who debuted against LA in May of 2010.
I, just like you, believe that FC Dallas has squandered solid chances to take points here and there. The game against Portland at FCD Stadium and the game against LA at the Home Depot Center come to mind. However some of our bad results are expected if not outright unavoidable.
We lost Villar at Sporting KC midway through the match and with it went our then-current tactics and the glue that held our attack together. We have lost Ugo to concussion symptoms and George John for periods as well. We have missed Castillo, Perez, Shea, Villar and even Jacobson for lengthy periods of time. The frequency and severity of the injuries are absolutely ludicrous, and that is something that no one can control. Do no mistake how badly losing two or three starters can affect your team, especially if they are the cornerstones of your squad (Shea, Villar, Ferreira, Ihemelu).
The other thing that has hurt us almost as badly have been suspensions, which have ballooned this year. For reasons both real and imagined, MLS referees have expelled a number of our players from games at critical junctures only to have us get scored on a man down. If you lose a man to a red card, you should and will get scored on unless the other team is inept at finishing. We as a team have certainly been disappointed to not score on another team when we are up a man for a significant length of time, other teams see it much the same. When our players get ejected your chances of getting scored on rise dramatically.
What effect does Schellas have on these things?
He can do absolutely nothing about the frequency of the injuries, which have reduced our roster to broken, ill-fitting lego bricks. He can and does try and coach the offending players who get red-carded. He has benched Jackson and Shea at various points for not maintaining their composure on the field. He has openly criticized others for getting ejected or drawing silly fouls.
Schellas tactics require discipline, a cool head and well-drilled players who are technically proficient. The combination of injuries and red cards has effectively negated any real chance of getting the same starting XI out two matches in a row save for once or twice.
We have seen two solid years of Schellas tactics (the roster burnout in 2011 aside) that resulted in very good games from our side. I firmly and wholeheartedly believe that given the circumstances up to this point in the season, you could expect only a little more than what we've gotten. Would the team be better than our current record? Probably, but not by much.
This team has been carefully crafted to play a certain style, and firing the man who for two and half years has performed quite well would only destroy what progress they have made. In order for Schellas' tactics to work, he would need a relatively healthy roster, which he hasn't had since day one, and that's without even mentioning the butchering that Barry Gorman did to the team's personnel last year. Avila and Alexander were traded for a striker who last year couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat, and a defender so awful I speak of him in Voldemort-esque terms. Hyndman could sure do with their services right about now.
It is starting to feel like a lost season for the Toros, but unless some very dodgy roster moves are made in the off-season, there is no one I would currently want besides Schellas leading the team next year. Wouldn't you be excited if we had the entire roster healthy and ready to go, with ample prep time and with Schellas behind the helm? Isn't that how we felt this season before everyone started dropping like flies?
In conclusion, I want to say I'm no Schellas apologist. He has made some mistakes, but those mistakes are things that in any normal season would not result in the massive hole we are in now. Players that we were counting on have not come through like we expected, while others have struggled to stay healthy and/or fit and I have already discussed the suspension/injury situation.
Should the time come for us to write off this season (while keeping most of our starting XI), the head coach will be the last concern on my mind going into the new campaign. The last thing this team needs is to abandon its emotional intelligence and make a decision based on nothing more than despair and anger. I would be more concerned about some of the headcases on our beloved team rather than the level-headed gaffer.