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Schellas Hyndman and Kevin Hartman on today's game

FRISCO TX - JULY 17:  Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman of FC Dallas during play against Real Salt Lake at Pizza Hut Park on July 17 2010 in Frisco Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
FRISCO TX - JULY 17: Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman of FC Dallas during play against Real Salt Lake at Pizza Hut Park on July 17 2010 in Frisco Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Yesterday I made it out to practice and chatted with Schellas and Hartman on tomorrow's game. 

Schellas Hyndman

Looking at Chicago, they're a team with a lot of new players that you haven't seen in MLS. With this being opening day and no video around of them does that make it tough to gameplan?

Yeah, we did get a chance to send John Ellinger to scout them in Charleston so we have kind of an idea of what they're doing...but they do have some new players and I think that's a sign of you're not getting the performance you want. So I see a much different looking team and I see an improved team.

Is it better to play a team like this on opening day? 

It really doesn't matter who we play on opening day. It is opening day and for us it's about trying to put all our team strategy together whether its coordination between players, defensive shape, patterns in the attack or players getting to know each other and that's something you build with time.

A lot of our pre-season has been focusing on new players, taking a look at players to see how they would fit into the team and then trying to do all those things we talked about as well as getting fitness. 

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Jair suspended for Saturday, is that something you knew was coming? 

Yeah, our first scrimmage was against Houston and the incident happened then. We knew something was going to happen, but in the end it's very disappointing because it takes out a very important piece of our defense.

But we also want to look at the cup half full and not half empty so it gives another player an opportunity to go out there and show how they can handle the pressure. 

Talk about Milton Rodriguez starting at forward on Saturday, he's had a great pre-season. 

You know what, he came in a little banged up with his energy and his groin but I really think he's picked it up. Things have come now to a point where he's playing some of his best soccer for us. 

It looks like the stadium will be sold out for opening day and that's a first for your time here can you talk about playing in front of a huge crowd and the excitement for opening day?

I think it's going to be fantastic. It's exactly what we need for our opening game with tremendous community support and that comes from a few logical reasons. The first thing is the success of last year's team. You know I think we gained the respect of the community, I think we proved that we're a legitimate contender for the championship and boy the ball just bounced right for us and players played extremely well.

The other thing is the front office. They have done a fantastic job working endless hours to make sure that we give these players and our club every opporunity to see what happens when you do it right on the field and what happens when you do it right in the front office. So it's really been great for both sides and we're really looking forward to the home opener 

Kevin Hartman

How are you feeling the day before opening day?

We're certainly excited about the opportunity that we have here. We're looking forward to playing in front of a bunch of fans which is something we can never take for granted. I think some of the success that we had on the field last year hopefully has translated into keeping more fans so were looking at trying to let them have an enjoyable evening so they can come back and be rabid supporters of ours. 

It's a great group of guys, we had some successes in the preseason but at the end of the day the regular season is where you get down to business....so there's a lot of pressure on us for the game but at the same time I think we've been a team that's not afraid to step into those pressure situations and get results so we hope we can do that tomorrow night. 

Brek Shea moving to center back obviously you see a lot of his play from your position in goal, what do you see from him and what are your feelings on him as a center back? 

He's somebody that's an exceptional soccer player. I never really realized how athletic of an individual he was until he moved about ten yards in front of me. He's a guy that's got great recovery speed, he's someone who's willing to listen, he works with any other back we put him with pretty well so I'll just try to continue to communicate with him.

There is a little bit of a shift in the mentality of being a defender as opposed to a midfielder you have to make sure that you're cautious with some of the movements out of the back because the repercussions are obviously tenfold in the back.  

You've played in some full houses with the Galaxy can you talk about how a team responds to playing in front of a sold out crowd? 

Well I think it depends on how you frame it. You can frame it and say there's more pressure to win or you can say it's an opporunity to show off in front of more people. So I think we're going to go ahead and try to convince these people it's a great event and a great thing to do...we're certainly excited what the front office and Doug Quinn have been able to do in terms of putting butts in the seats. 

 

Pre-game thread in a few hours...get your predictions ready.