FC Dallas Coach Schellas Hyndman, left, has the same sort of collegiate pedigree that Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena (Virginia) also boasts. Hyndman coached SMU for about a quarter century and boasted an overall record there of 368-96-38 before joining Dallas in 2008.
Trivia: Hyndman and Arena faced each other just once in the college ranks, back in October 1987. The key to that game, according to Hyndman? John Harkes got a red card. SMU won.
“Last week I think (ESPN analyst Alexi) Lalas had picked every team (to win in the playoffs) wrong – every team he picked was wrong – and he still has a job. I’m sure he won’t be pulling for me.”
Here are some selected excerpts from a lengthy interview a gracious Hyndman gave for members of the media on Saturday before Dallas practiced at Home Depot Center ahead of today’s 5 p.m. Western Conference final against the Galaxy.
Question: On Sunday this year’s MLS Coach of the Year will face last year’s MLS Coach of the Year, Bruce Arena, and both of you rebuilt your respective rosters and revived the fortunes of your respective clubs to win it (Dax McCarty and Dario Sala are the only players who were on the Dallas roster when Hyndman took over to remain). How daunting of a task is it to accomplish something like that?
Answer: It’s really quite challenging.
For me the easiest thing for any coach to do is identify talent and get talent. One of the harder things to do is to manage that talent and to make sure you have good character. That’s what we’ve been able to do here. And I think you saw the same thing happening here with LA.
Q: How important a piece of your jigsaw puzzle was bringing in an enforcer like Daniel Hernandez to FC Dallas?
A: I brought him in to have the comfort zone of having someone I know and can trust. Ugo (Ihemelu) was the same way. They played for me at SMU and they are probably two of my many favorites that I had at SMU. When you have players that believe in what you do and they speak behind your back in a positive way, lead in the right direction, it makes every coach’s job easier.
Q: The Galaxy have been talking about the importance of stopping playmaker David Ferreira, who has more than a dozen assists on the year. Your take?
A: He’s been unbelievable. He’s never missed a minute of practice. I think he might have missed one minute of a game because I wanted to take him out and protect him. He’s probably the most-fouled player in the league and he’s a difference-maker.
David is probably the man who pulls the strings for FC Dallas. That is no secret.