Six weeks ago FC Dallas led the league, was running away with the West, cruising in the U.S. Open Cup and couldn’t be blamed for wondering about a first-ever Supporters Shield.
Today the club is winless in five league matches, has been booted from the Open Cup and couldn’t be blamed for wondering this: is the team even capable of holding serve long enough to remain among the playoff graced?
By building so many points through the season’s first three months, Schellas Hyndman’s team gave itself some wiggle room – which has all but been tossed away now. A midweek tie at home to Chivas USA and a loss late last night to complete Major League Soccer’s busy 19th Round closed off an awful week for the Red Stripes.
Hyndman said the Galaxy “basically outworked us,” in a fairly dominant performance by the Galaxy at the StubHub Center, one that saw the home team outshoot Dallas, 23-6. But there’s a deeper issue at work here for the team from Texas.
It’s depth. A debilitating lack of it at certain spots, specifically. FC Dallas went into the season stacked at striker and at goalkeeper, and OK at center back, although quite young at the position. That’s about it. A serious lack of quality depth throughout the midfield and at outside back was always the clear and present danger – and it’s affecting the bottom line now.
FCD is OK at those positions for the first 11, but devoid of reasonable options behind them. A certain amount of good fortune with injury allowed Hyndman to keep most of his first-choice men on the field through March, April and May, which is why Dallas built its comfy cushion.
But the wear and tear began taking its toll, and an injury to invaluable center back George John has weakened the back line by a considerable margin.
When Hyndman talks about being outworked, he’s also talking about the inability to give certain players sufficient rest. But what choices does he have, unadorned by squad men capable of answering the call?
The answer: he doesn’t have enough of them – adequate options, that is. And that’s down to a roster that wasn’t developed adequately in the first place.