FCD won't adjust in Joseph's absence

Winless Hoops seek first triumph at Gillette Stadium since 2003

FC
Dallas will face the New England Revolution on Saturday at Gillette Stadium, a venue
where Schellas Hyndman’s club hasn’t won since 2003.

But the odds for FCD
may have significantly improved on Monday, when the Revs announced that star
midfielder Shalrie Joseph is on an indefinite leave of absence for personal
reasons.

But while the loss
of Joseph is a big loss for the home side, one thing his absence won’t do is
change how Hyndman and his team prepare for Saturday’s match.

“He’s been a key
fixture for their team for years,” the Hyndman said Tuesday. “He seems to be in
the right place at the right time, a real warrior. I’m sure the hope of the
coaching staff is: ‘OK, we don’t have Shalrie and everybody else is going to
have to pick up at least 10 percent.’ You never want to
walk into the game thinking it’s going to be an easier game because they don’t
have Shalrie Joseph. I think other players are going to get opportunities and
try to raise their level.”

For FCD forward Jeff Cunningham, who has had his share of battles with Joseph, he still expects the
usual hard-fought game from New England.

“Last year, besides
Landon [Donovan], I thought he was the person who would get my vote for MVP of
the league,” Cunningham
said Monday. “Over the years, he’s been very steady for that club. Not having him, you can see he’s definitely missed on the team.”

Cunningham also
realizes, however, that much of New England’s success over the last few years
has been because head coach Steve Nicol and his staff have done a great job of
bringing interchangeable pieces into the team and putting those players into
spots where they can succeed.

“It’s the same song,
different verse with them," said Dax McCarty. "They’re always the same. You
always expect that from their team. Steve Nicol is a coach that I have a lot of
respect for. I think he’s gained a lot of respect around this league for taking
certain guys and drafting certain guys that come in and really make impacts for
him.”

Even though FCD
(0-1-3) are just one of two winless teams in MLS, Hyndman still feels that with
a couple of breaks going his side’s way, his team’s record could be drastically
different.

“If you look at the
four games we’ve played, we could have won all four games," Hyndman said. "We’re inches away
from winning games and soccer is probably the cruelest game in the world. We could be in a wonderful position right now but it’s hitting goal
posts, not following up on chances, not putting opportunities away, giving up
soft goals, all the things that matter.”