FC Dallas Coach Schellas Hyndman and captain Daniel Hernandez and Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena and captain Landon Donovan were represented on the calls today ahead of Sunday’s Western Conference title game at Home Depot Center.
Here are a few of the more interesting perspectives.
*I asked Arena how top scorer Edson Buddle was after he was subbed in Sunday’s game against Seattle with what looked like a potential injury:
“He just got kicked on that one foul with (Patrick) Ianni, but he’s fine, he trained today, and he’s ready to go.”
*Both Arena and Donovan said the honor of hosting Sunday’s Western Conference final is insufficient reward for slogging through 30 games and winning the regular season title.
Neither offered suggestions for specific improvements in the MLS playoff format, however:
“We need to do a better job of educating our ownership,” Arena said, adding that franchise owners need to lobby the league for a change. “A lot of us at this point believe there should be a greater reward for being regular season champions.”
Here’s Hyndman on the value of goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, statistically the best goalkeeper in MLS this season, to his team after he was let go by the Wizards:
“Whatever happened in Kansas happened in Kansas and we’ve never talked about it,” he said, observing that Hartman was brought in as the No. 2 goalkeeper behind Dario Sala.”
“He embraced it. He prepared. He’s at his best right now. … He’s a wonderful shot stopper. I don’t think people recognize how much he really adds to this team — his communication skills and his organizational skills — he just makes FC Dallas better. Now that he’s back (from injury) the team is playing with so much more confidence.”
Here’s Hyndman on whether the Galaxy have a psychological advantage over Dallas after beating them in the last game of the regular season at Home Depot center (and earlier in the year, in Dallas, too):
“In that game we didn’t play Kevin Hartman, in that game we didn’t play Daniel Hernandez and in that game we didn’t play Ugo Ihemelu until late in the game when there was an injury. We were really thinking about our next game (in the playoffs against Real Salt Lake) and I didn’t want to risk any of our players.”
And here’s Hernandez on the same subject:
“Everybody is aware they beat us twice this year, but as players it doesn’ t bother us at all. As a team, we’ve done a great job of concentrating on our next opponent each week …. We’ve just done a really good job of focusing on the next game.”