Friday, June 27, 2008

The Forgotten Teams, Part II

FC Dallas, the soccer team here for those who don't know, is a rare commodity in the MLS. Along with the Los Angeles Galaxy, FCD is the only other profitable team. In a relatively young league (established in 1996), this is quite a feat. It's soccer specific stadium, Pizza Hut Park, has been a great investment. Though it is a far drive to Frisco, the stadium has established itself as one of the best in the MLS, hosting the MLS Cup the previous two seasons. Currently, FCD is sitting in 5th place in the Western Conference on 17 points.

The big news surrounding the team is the signing of a new Coach, Schellas Hyndman. This comes after Collin Clarke had led the team to a more than disappointing opening to the campaign. Hyndman is a local product, coaching the SMU soccer team for the past 24 years. He ranks 4th all time in collegiate soccer victories, and has reached the final four 3 times. Clearly his resume with SMU is impressive, the big question mark, however, is if his college success will translate to the professional ranks. Thus far he has managed two games-- a one goal loss to the New York Red Bulls in his debut, and a 1-1 draw last night to at the Houston Dynamo.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Former Manchester United player and Jesuit product Kenny Cooper. Cooper has scored 8 goals to lead the team after missing last season with a broken leg. His leg injury also stalled his national team career, as he missed the Copa America Tournament. To date he has appeared in 2 games for his country and already has put one in the back of the net.

Also, the quickly improving Dominic Oduro has finally won a regular starting job, and has been the spark the team has needed of late. Look for him and Cooper to produce big this season--and hope for the re-emergence of out-of-form Juan Toja.

UP NEXT: a friendly (soccer term for "exhibition") match against CD Guadalajara (the original Chivas) on Sunday. The next league match is next Friday against a beatable Kansas City side. Hyndman will also have another chance for his first victory as coach on Tuesday in the US Open Cup against Miami FC.


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