NEW YORK – The Los Angeles Galaxy may have won the Supporters’ Shield with the best record in MLS, but FC Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman said the best team in MLS goes by another name.
“Somebody asked me six weeks ago who is the best team in the league and it was before we played [in the first round of the playoffs],” Hyndman told ExtraTime Radio. “I said the best team I’ve seen is Salt Lake. Player to player, speed and an unbelievable mentality at home.”
Hyndman’s squad eliminated RSL in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs and next face the Galaxy at the Home Depot Center on Sunday in the Western Conference Championship (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2). LA defeated FC Dallas in both regular-season match-ups this year.
Real Salt Lake finished just three points behind the Galaxy in the race for the Supporters’ Shield, but the Claret-and-Cobalt still left an impression on FC Dallas.
“Hats off to them,” Hyndman said. “What a tremendous job [RSL manager] Jason Kreis and their team have done all year. I honestly thought that they were the best team in the league.”
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The third-year FCD manager detailed elements of the game plan his club used in Salt Lake last Saturday, which may resurface against LA on Sunday. The FC Dallas counterattack resulted in clear-cut chances in the first half at Rio Tinto Stadium and the high pressure by Hyndman’s team disrupted RSL’s rhythm and forced them into errors.
“We spent probably an additional two or three days on what we call 'Level 2 defending,' which is right around the center line,” Hyndman said of the week of practice preceding the second leg in Salt Lake.
The Galaxy, a team that has relied on impenetrable team defense to win a league-high 18 games in 2010, may be getting ready to meet their defensive match.