Assuming nothing crazy happens, June 22 will be a big day for FC Dallas and Schellas Hyndman.
On this Saturday night at FC Dallas Stadium against Sporting Kansas City, Hyndman will coach his 161st game for the club, passing Dave Dir for the most all-time in franchise history. Despite nearing this record, I'm not sure that anyone can say whether Hyndman's four and a half years at the helm in Frisco can be seen as a success or not.
In his 145 games coached, Schellas is 51-47-47 good for an average of 1.38 points per game which over a 34 game season extrapolates out to 47 points, a total that puts you right on the fringes of the playoffs. It's not a number that blows you away, but the truth is, anyone who follows this team closely knows that a simple record analysis ignores many extenuating circumstances over the past two seasons.
With his squad finally complete in 2010, Hyndman's FC Dallas lost just four games the entire season while playing some beautiful soccer en route to the club's first ever trip to MLS Cup, proving his mettle as an MLS manager. While Dallas was not able to bring home the trophy, it was still an incredible achievement for the club, the biggest since 1997. With that MLS Cup trip, Dallas booked CONCACAF Champions League play for the first time in team history as well.
Then disaster struck and Ferreira, the player Hyndman built his entire team around, was taken out of the game for 15 months. While FCD was able to cope for a short time, the team eventually crumbled without their talisman. Over the last 50 competitive games, FC Dallas is just 13-24-13 while embarrassingly crashing out of the CCL and US Open Cup.
Is it fair to place all the blame on Schellas for the struggles of the last year and a half? Not really, Hyndman did an admirable job keeping the team together in the first half of 2012 through an historic amount of injuries. While it wasn't quite enough to earn a playoff spot, it was enough to at least keep the season interesting right up until the end.
But facts are facts. As we head into the fifth full year, Dallas is still without a major trophy since 1997, his squad has made the playoffs only half the years in charge and the overall record is basically .500, the same records as Colin Clarke, Steve Morrow and Dave Dir.
All of what I just said is a very roundabout way of stating that 2013 is really a make or break year for Schellas Hyndman's legacy as an MLS coach. He's had his hits and his misses, and while the excuses for why FC Dallas struggled in the last year and a half are legitimate, those are gone in 2013. With their recent moves, FCD is loaded on offense and defense while now-captain David Ferreira is completely healthy and ready to put the team on his back again.
If Hyndman can lead FCD back to among the MLS elite in 2013, I don't think there's any question that his time with the club should be seen as a success and Hyndman will be regarded up there with Dave Dir as the best coach in franchise history while the games without Ferreira were simply that.
Either way, it's going to be fascinating to watch so get your popcorn ready because MLS First Kick is less than three weeks away.