FRISCO, Texas — FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman and his players aren’t in the least bit intimidated by the visit of reigning league champions RSL in the first leg of a Western Conference Semifinal series.
Sure, playing RSL in the opening round is the toughest of assignments, but Hyndman said his club is more than well-equipped for the challenge.
“This is where last year they really turned it on — in the playoffs,” Hyndman said. “They kept that going the whole year. I have a lot of respect for them. They’re a very good team and an experienced, effective team. For us, it’s a new season and an opportunity to play and continue to chase our dreams of bringing a championship to Dallas.”
The Hoops dropped their final two games of the year against the West's two top teams — falling 2-0 to RSL and 2-1 to the LA Galaxy. Both games came on the road.
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS: RSL handle Dallas, 2-0
“I think the way we finished the season isn’t a knock on our confidence at all in terms of our results,” right back Heath Pearce said. “If anything, it was a blessing in disguise. It’s humbled us and taken us back a little bit to go back to what got us results so far this year. I think we’ve taken a positive spin on the results and the team is preparing well.”
FCD beat RSL 2-0 at Pizza Hut Park on July 17. The reigning champions have not lost a game since that setback.
"All home games are important in this league and we’re a team that, like most teams, has done very well at home," Hyndman said. "We’re going into this game with everything we possibly can to have success.”
The fact that FCD so recently faced RSL is something Hyndman sees as an advantage for both sides.
“We saw them two weeks ago, which helped us a lot in our tactics that we’re going to try and play and some of the things we’re going to do,” Hyndman said. “Only recently have we been giving up multiple goals, and those could be because of the multiple injuries.”
Earlier this week, RSL head coach Jason Kreis said that his side might adopt a defensive approach for the first leg. If that’s the case, his FCD counterpart wouldn’t rule out rolling out a more attack-minded formation.
“I would not believe anything that Real Salt Lake says first of all — if they believe anything I say, it’s a mistake on their part as well,” Hyndman said jokingly. “I think Milton Rodriguez and Jeff Cunningham could both be on the field. We could very well go into a 4-4-2 because we want to be offensive."
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