|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 10, 2010
SCHELLAS HYNDMAN: Hello to everyone. This is obviously an exciting moment for FC Dallas to be competing in the Western Conference Championship against a very, very good team led by Bruce Arena and LA Galaxy.
It's really been a remarkable season for us. We broke our season into three phases, the first ten games, the middle ten and then the final ten. As you mentioned earlier, we were able to have a tremendous season as far as being undefeated for 19 games. We also set an MLS record for being undefeated on the road for 12 games.
We just beat a very, very good team with Real Salt Lake City winning at home 2-1 and then tying in Rio Tinto which is a very difficult place to be.
The results that we've been getting has been really due to a lot of hard work for the players, very good character, and the players come up with a mentality of refuse to lose. We're really looking forward to playing our game against LA Galaxy this Sunday. I think you'll see us at our best, and I think it'll be a very, very exciting game for the spectators.
DANIEL HERNANDEZ: Yeah, hello to everyone. Yeah, just from a player's point of view, very excited. We know it's going to be a tough game down in LA, great atmosphere. We know the great year that LA has had this year. But we're pretty confident. The team looks great. We're working hard still, preparing ourselves for that important game on Sunday, and like Coach said, we've had a successful season. By no means is it over with yet.
You know, our main goal is to win that MLS Cup Championship at the end of the year. This is just one more step to get to that goal, and I think us as players are prepared, and we're going to continue to prepare for that game come Sunday.
Q. Schellas, I'm actually going to talk to Kevin Hartman later today and so wanted to get your thoughts on a guy who really has had a second wind to his career. He was sort of capped off by Kansas City and has just been great for you guys. I was wondering how much of his success might be coming from a little chip on his shoulder that he hasn't had the recognition and respect he deserves. How has that sort of translated into a leadership role for you guys? Can you just talk about his season and sort of what he's contributed?
SCHELLAS HYNDMAN: Okay, well, as far as coming in with that chip on his shoulder, I think that's probably more of a human nature. Whatever happened in Kansas happened in Kansas. He and I have never talked about it. But I think he really embraced the opportunity to continue to play. It was a wonderful opportunity for FC Dallas to bring in what we had considered a very good goalkeeper but really a No. 2 because we've got a very good keeper in Dario Sala.
And after a few games and through Kevin's hard work, an opportunity came for him, and he really embraced it. He was prepared. All the qualities that we all know about Kevin through all the years that he's played in the league, I mean, it's at its best right now. He's playing with an extremely high level of confidence. He's a wonderful shot slapper, and the one area that I don't think people recognize how much he really adds to this team is his organizational skills and his communication skills. He just made our team so much better.
And I think you saw a little dip in FC Dallas play and the number of goals we were giving up when he was off for those six weeks with an MCL injury. And now that he's back, the team has played with so much more confidence.
And I think he's really found a second life to himself, and now he's thinking about playing until he's 45.
Q. Schellas, this question isn't directly about the game but about the playoffs in general, and I was wondering, I'm asking a number of coaches, eight teams in the playoffs, do you feel that's enough? And what would you like to see with the league going forward adding two more teams? Would you like to see a single table, conferences or maybe have another idea?
SCHELLAS HYNDMAN: You know what, it's just an opinion. I know the MLS staff and administrators have been working very hard as well as coaches and technical directors in trying to make a decision that we feel is the best for not only the players but also for the league and how it's being represented throughout the world.
I think as we continue to add more and more teams, the schedule continues to get a little bit longer, and then for the teams that are playing in other competitions, you know, it really becomes very drainful and potential for injury increases.
But for me personally, I think it has to be played on the field. It has to have a home game, it has to have a road game, and the best thing that I would see is everybody play in the league once at home, once on the road, and I'm sure there will still be continued talks about whether we're conferences, single table, or whether -- how many teams would get into the playoffs.
But I think the level -- and you can see it right now, with the eight teams that started off competing in the playoffs, two of what I would say less successful teams in the west now are both playing each other in the east. I think that just shows the parity there is and how good every team and every market really is.
I would think the single table where you have to play everybody at home and on the road would be very fair because then everyone would have a chance to be level field playing ground.
Q. Would you like to see the league remain at eight teams in the playoffs next year?
SCHELLAS HYNDMAN: Yeah, unless I'm the ninth. But I think it gives you -- when you have eight teams competing, I think what it does, it just forces you to take every game so very serious, and the better teams are going to be in the eight. I think the competition brings the best out of everyone.
Q. I was just wondering, conventional wisdom suggests and several Galaxy players have suggested that the win on the last day of the season over Dallas at Home Depot Center gives the Galaxy a psychological edge going into the game on Sunday. Agree, disagree, and why?
SCHELLAS HYNDMAN: I didn't hear you real well, but I think what you were asking is is there a psychological edge on the Galaxy defeating FC Dallas in Pizza Hut Park and then also at Home Depot; is that correct?
Q. Yeah, on the last day of the season.
SCHELLAS HYNDMAN: Yeah. That was an interesting game. You know, we went in there trying to find success, and we knew LA was playing for the Supporters' Shield, so they were definitely going to put their best team out there. We took a 1-0 lead, and then they tied us in the first half, then they came back and scored in the first 30 seconds of the second half, and I thought it was a really good game by both teams.
I think the atmosphere and the level of the competition was really quite high. If you've been -- after that game watching LA play against Seattle, they really came out very hard and I think they were trying to get the game over with in the first 20, 25 minutes and imposing their team spirit and their level of play.
I don't think that's going to be that much of a factor for us. I think it's more of a factor for sports in general, but I don't think it's going to be that much of a factor for us because in that game we didn't play Kevin Hartman, in that game we didn't play Daniel Hernandez, and in that game we didn't play Ugo Ihemelu until the latter part of the game where there was an injury.
We were really thinking about the next game. We were thinking about the game against Real Salt Lake City at home, and I didn't want to risk any of those players not to be at their best when we went into the playoffs.
That game was very important to us because I think it would have helped with the confidence, and it would have helped to see players get more playing time before we went into the Real Salt Lake City game. But quite honestly that's not going to be a concern from the coach's point of view.
DANIEL HERNANDEZ: As far as psychological looking into this game coming up, obviously everybody is aware that they've beat us twice this year. But as a player I don't think it bothers us at all. I think us as a team, we've done a great job this year concentrating on our next opponent each week, whoever that may be, and whether it's at home or away, I feel like we've done a great job focusing on the next opponent.
I'm not worrying about the past, what's happened, the streaks that we've had all year. We've just done a really good job on focusing on the next game, and right now the most important game for us is Sunday against LA. Regardless of what happened this year, we wouldn't feel any different if we beat them twice this year. We still come in with the same confidence, with the same mentality of trying to win the most important game of the season right now.
Q. This is for both Daniel and Schellas. Throughout the course of the season, and admittedly this is a subjective assessment but there were maybe one or two games out of every eight or ten that we saw that were both tightly contested and played with as much sharpness as all of the games that we've seen in the playoffs, and all these playoff games are played with a degree of urgency that's really showcased the teams, the tactics, the players better than any of the regular season games have. Why can't we see more of that in the regular season?
SCHELLAS HYNDMAN: I don't know. I can tell you only about FC Dallas. Since my first day of arrival here, we've tried to play a good level of soccer. We've tried to be entertaining and we've tried to be all central minded.
My ambition was not only to find success as MLS coach and success for FC Dallas, but what I wanted to do was to develop a culture of winning. And right now I think we've found ways to be successful and to play good soccer, and quite honestly, the question you asked, I've made statements to the team on numerous occasions that we want to get ourselves into the playoffs, and we are prepared to go into the playoffs because we felt like we played every game this year like it was a playoff game.
I mean, I think there's only two or three games where the score was different than by one goal, and many of the games ended up in ties as you know. So we've always found ourselves a bit nervous even in extended time.
So all we can ask from our players is to go out and play the best soccer they possibly can. Where it gets messed up a little bit is if the opposing team has different tactics, and then it's hard to get a good quality game if one team is sitting back and bunkering or playing physical while another team is trying to attack. There's been moments in the games where we have sat back, and Real Salt Lake City when they were putting so much pressure on us on the end, we dropped ourselves back to a level 3 defending because we wanted the result. But I still think it was all in all a good spectator game.
Q. Daniel, as a player, what do you bring to the playoffs that maybe increases the level of the game that maybe might be missing during the regular season?
DANIEL HERNANDEZ: Yeah, well, I just think it's a totally different level, totally different intensity. Just the whole game day of preparing for a playoff game, you have the nerves going, and as soon as you step on that field, I think both teams know the expectations from everyone, know what's riding on that game. You know, it could be your last game of the season, and I don't think anybody wants to go home on vacation.
I think everybody comes in prepared and knows the level of play is different. You know, obviously throughout the season you want to play your best soccer every single game.
I think Coach mentioned that we developed a culture of winning here. I think he did a great job enforcing that on us as players. But at the end of the day, you have to realize it is a long season. You can't play at your best every single game, you know, and because so many games throughout the season, even though you would like to play every game 100 percent and as best as you can, you're going to have those games here and there that are not your best.
But come playoff time, this is the time that you can't let anything go on the field. You pretty much have to give it all you have and leave everything on the field.
I think we've done a great job here throughout the year, and I know Coach has prepared us for these playoffs, and we've showed in the first two games so far that everybody came out with that mentality of winning, and even the rookies that maybe have not had any experience in playoffs and some of the guys, veteran guys that haven't had any playoff experience, we've all done a great job in concentrating and focusing on that and doing what we have to do to win games.
Q. In the Galaxy's first game against the Sounders they had a heavy reliance on the use of Dema Kovalenko and they were very physical throughout the series in pushing the Sounders off the ball, closing down passing lanes. With a possession game like you run, how do you plan to neutralize the physicalness that the Galaxy bring to the game on Sunday?
SCHELLAS HYNDMAN: I think what's going to happen is I think the officiating is going to have to be at its best so the physical play doesn't occur or be consistent or players will pick up knots and injuries out of it.
I think the importance of this type of a game, I'm expecting to have the best officiating in this country, and I'm sure we will.
Also realizing that it is a big game and people's energy is going to be going overboard at times, I think it really comes down to the referee because the players cannot take the game in their own hands. We're counting on the referee.
I thought Dema did a very good job in the game up in Seattle, neutralizing Seattle and playing on a very difficult surface and environment with the fans. If you think back to the game with LA against Seattle at home, I mean, he really wasn't involved very much because I think the LA team, player for player, really raised their energy level and became almost to that edge of putting it all on the line.
You know, we're just counting on it being a very, very good game. If it tends to get physical, I'm sure it will go both ways. Both teams will get physical. And then the officiating will take care of that.
Q. Daniel, any thoughts?
DANIEL HERNANDEZ: Yeah, I mean, I think that's a great point by Coach that the officiating is going to be very important. They will kind of control the game from the beginning, and I think for us in the playoffs, I think everybody is physical. Everybody plays with a lot of intensity. I wouldn't know about the physical part. I'm a finesse type of player myself. So we'll just go out there and try to play our game and do the best we can against them.
Q. David Ferreira doesn't get all the goals that Chris Wondolowski or Edson Buddle does, but he's up for the MVP, and he just narrowly won from the soccer reporters that needed a runoff vote to get it done. Just talk about how instrumental he has been to this team in its growth through this team.
SCHELLAS HYNDMAN: Yeah, and this is not taking any respect from anybody in the league or any of his teammates. Our team basically goes the way David Ferreira goes. He may not have the number of goals that you mentioned or the number of assists that you mentioned but he's always at some point of the breakout or the goal itself. A lot of attention went to Eric Avila when he scored the goal to beat Real Salt Lake City a couple weeks ago at home. But if you look at those clips a little bit closer, David had three real Salt Lake City people on him and they were trying to take the ball away from him, grabbing him and everything else, and he was still able to get that key pass off to Eric who did a great finish.
When David came into the league I think there was a huge adjustment like most international players coming into the league. This is a very, very quick league, it's a fast league, players are athletic, they're strong, they're physical. And I think as he settled down and started to figure things out, I mean, he's basically the player that gives FC Dallas the opportunity to be in there every game. I would not want to play against a David Ferreira.
Comparing him to other players, whether it's a Buddle or Wondolowski, they do their things for their team. But I think the difference, and I would vote with David, is that I don't think a lot of people expected FC Dallas to be in the position that we're in today. We have a lot of players that are playing for us. At times we had against Kansas City five injuries from our first team players, but David was still out there pulling the strings and making things happen, assisting on the first goal for us to win the game.
So I think he is without a doubt one of the best players in the league, and I think because he's playing for FC Dallas, his importance to our team is probably more of an importance than other players are to their teams.
THE MODERATOR: We're going to conclude the first part of today's media teleconference call. Best of luck, gentlemen.
Moving forward, we're going to get started with our representatives from the Los Angeles Galaxy, Bruce Arena and Landon Donovan.
BRUCE ARENA: Well, we look forward to being again in the Western Conference Final. We're pleased to be at home, and we know we're playing a very good team in FC Dallas.
Obviously had a good look at them a few weeks ago when we played -- I believe it was the last game of the regular season. They're a very good team. We're looking forward to the game. Our team will be ready, and I'm sure Dallas will be, as well.
LANDON DONOVAN: Obviously we're incredibly excited about it. We got through a difficult series with Seattle, and we had the ability to watch both games between Dallas and Salt Lake City, and I was very impressed with Dallas and the way they went about their business, particularly on the road in Salt Lake City where it's a very difficult place to play.
They came to LA three weeks ago and gave us a really good game, and we expect the same on Sunday. It's going to be a really hard-fought game, and it's going to come down to making a few plays on either end of the field.
Q. Landon, you guys are kind of one of the rock star teams of MLS with all your star power. Do you think that puts a target on you at all? Do you see the other teams raising their effort or providing more incentive to be able to say we beat Beckham and Donovan and all those guys?
LANDON DONOVAN: I think there's no question that teams around the league get up to play against us. It seems like every game we play on the road is generally the biggest crowd that team has all year, and every time we play at home, we usually get everyone's best effort. Sometimes that makes it more difficult, but I think it's made us a better team, a more hardened team, and we understand that everyone is gunning for us.
Over the last two years we have unquestionably been the best team in this league, and when that happens, teams get up to play you, and we expect the same on Sunday.
Q. Do you enjoy that part of it? Disregarding the attention and the publicity, do you enjoy the part that everyone is gunning for you?
LANDON DONOVAN: Well, you know you're getting everyone's best, so when you're successful playing against that, it feels good. You want to beat teams that are playing their best. You don't want to have it easy. When you put so much into it and you know you're getting the best from the other team and you come out victorious, it feels a lot better.
Q. Landon, how much and in what ways do you think this is a different team with a healthy, committed David Beckham?
LANDON DONOVAN: Well, there's different parts of that. One part is what he can do technically on a soccer field, which in my opinion is better than anybody in this league and better than a lot of people around the world.
The second part is the energy and the effort he brings on the field, which he has done now for five or six games incredibly well, as good as anybody in the playoffs that I've seen.
And then the third part is the leadership part, where he's really engaged and focused and dedicated to helping this team win, and when you put those three together, it makes your team a lot better.
Q. That he went through so much this year with the injury, missing the World Cup, do you think this means more to him because of that, that this has become a real special time for him in his career?
LANDON DONOVAN: You'd have to ask him. I don't know, I'm not going to speak for him. What I do know is that as you get older, as players get older, reality sets in, and you realize you only have so many more chances. Who knows what happens next year? Who knows what happens with the extension draft, reentry draft? Who knows what our team looks like next year? And we have a very good chance this year to win. This might be one of the last two years that David has if he decides not to play again after next year. So he understands how crucial that is, and if I were him, I would want to make the most of it.
Q. Bruce, the MLS Cup is going to be in Toronto this year. Next year there's another team from Canada that's going to be entering the league, and then looking even further ahead you've got Montreal, three teams in Canada. Now, there's no denying the impact that MLS has had on the development of the U.S. National Team, and you took over the national team after MLS had been around for just as long as it takes most students earn a graduate degree from liberal arts, so you had professional soccer grad students to pick from when you were picking the U.S. team. How do you think the addition of two top-tier teams in Canada could affect the Canadian National Team setup?
BRUCE ARENA: I think it'll help them tremendously. There are a lot of good young Canadian players being developed in MLS, and that will only speak well for the national team. You can already see that they are a team or a country with a much improved pool of players, and I think it's only going to get better with the addition of Vancouver and Montreal.
Q. Is there something to be said for having MLS teams in Canada specifically, maybe increasing that pool of players or keeping players at home?
BRUCE ARENA: Well, because of the rules in MLS, they're going to be required to have a number of Canadian players on their roster, so that speaks well for the pool of players for the Canadian National Team. MLS clearly will help strengthen the Canadian National Team. I don't know any other way you can explain it, but it's certainly going to be a big advantage for them.
Q. For Landon, coming back from the World Cup, was it difficult at all to get back into the swing and motivated for MLS, and how did you go through that process? And through all this, does the likelihood of going to Everton increase or decrease, or what's the process?
LANDON DONOVAN: There's two parts to that. Physically you have to get your body to a place where you're able to withstand the rest of the year. I had to be smart about it. Unfortunately I've had the experience of having gone through this twice before, and Bruce has the experience with me of knowing what my body needs. So that part of it was touch and go.
Q. Bruce, Landon had touched on what this might mean for David, knowing he's nearing the end, and for Landon, as well, he hasn't won a championship in a while, he's been through quite a bit the last five years on and off the field and may have a deeper appreciation for what this opportunity might mean, especially after coming so close last year. The two of them did an enormous amount of brunt work against Seattle, tracking back, defending, doing a lot of the unglamorous stuff, and it really sort of struck a chord and maybe signaled that these guys to ready to win. I wonder if you could chat about how you sort of convinced them to do that, whether they did that on their own, and whether or not you see anything in those two that makes you think they might be a bit extra hungry or a bit extra committed to winning this thing?
BRUCE ARENA: Well, I think they're doing the things that are required of any player on the field. David and Landon are no different than any other player, and they realize some of the challenges and the responsibilities they have during these matches. We don't let them off the hook like anybody else.
The reason Landon and David are great players is because they're great competitors, as well, and they do want to win. David wants to win and Landon wants to win, whether it's for the reasons that everyone has indicated, whether David doesn't have that much more time and this and that. They're competitive guys. When they step on the field, they step on the field to win.
And for a team to be successful, you have to have 11 players giving the kind of effort that's necessary to win, and we've seen in this series for sure that Landon and David have done that and will continue to do it.
Q. Landon, you just spoke real eloquently about what this might mean for David sort of knowing he's nearing the end, and I asked Bruce, as well, you've gone five years without a title and have been through a lot in the last five years on and off the field. Maybe you were a bit younger, maybe had a different perspective on what winning this thing might mean, and of course after coming so close last year. I was wondering if your perspective on winning a championship has changed and if your thirst for it has changed now that you're only two games away?
LANDON DONOVAN: My perspective has absolutely changed. I was fortunate to come into a team that -- where everything fell together in the right way with San Jose, and I won the championship two out of my first three years and then three out of my first five years, and at that point I almost assumed that that was normal and that was just the way it went.
As you get older and play longer and realize how difficult it is for those things to happen, you appreciate it more. And last year gave me a lot of appreciation for what it takes, mainly because I was the captain and I was so tuned into this team. You know what goes on behind the scenes, you know what it takes every day. You know that it takes 22, 23, 24 guys throughout a year to make it happen. So my level of appreciation has gotten a lot deeper and greater.
Your second question, yeah, I also realized that you don't know what your team is going to look like in the future. I mean, we assume that our team is going to still be competitive year after year, and certainly with Bruce here it's going to help that. But you never know. And if you have a team that's this good that has a realistic chance of winning it, you want to take advantage of it. And certainly last year was disappointing for that reason.
Q. Landon, when you dropped out you were talking about the physical and then you cut off.
LANDON DONOVAN: Yeah, so the physical part is challenging, and you need to get the appropriate rest. Bruce gave me the weekend that we played in New England, he gave me that weekend off, which helped a lot. And then it was just a matter of keeping myself sharp while not wearing myself out. And that's a kind of delicate balance that you have to get.
If you ask any guys that come back from the World Cup, they'll tell you how difficult it is to keep yourself going if you don't have a break.
And then the other part is the mental part. In the past it would have been difficult for me because you go from playing in front of 40,000, 50,000, 60,000 and in games that are literally the most meaningful games in your career, and you come back to the middle of the season that you've been a part of for eight or nine years, and there can be a tendency to have a letdown.
But for me playing soccer is deeper than that now. It doesn't mean every week that I'm perfect and I bring the perfect effort every time. But I try to be completely committed every time I step on the field now.
Honestly, it was a challenge for me because the easy way would have been to say, you know what, I've had a great year, I went to Everton, things went pretty well there, I had a good World Cup, who cares about the rest of the year. And that was a challenge that I wanted to take on and make sure that I kept driving this team forward and got us back to the playoffs and got us into the position we're in Sunday.
Q. Does coming back now give you a different perspective as far as you think about whether or not it makes sense to go back to Everton or even there's some buzz around the Red Sox buying Liverpool that they might want you to consider them?
LANDON DONOVAN: Does coming back now? What do you mean?
Q. After playing through two, three months of MLS and being back with the Galaxy give you a different perspective how to go about making a decision whether you want another loan or a permanent move or to stay?
LANDON DONOVAN: I'll have to think about all that in the off-season.
Q. Bruce, I wanted to go back to one of the questions earlier about the fact that your team definitely has a bull's eye on it. Do you feel the same way as Landon that when you're scouting other teams and everything, does it seem like they play at a higher level when they play against your team?
BRUCE ARENA: It does appear to be the case, and perhaps that's because maybe on some given days we haven't played up to our potential. But every team we've played probably over the last 20 games in this league has given us everything they have. That's been both good and bad. It's bad because if we're not ready to play, we don't get the kind of result we want. But the good part is we're finally focused and understand the kind of effort and approach to have to have each and every game, and I think that should help us as we continue our quest in the playoffs.
Q. Can you just talk about what is the difference in this team this year and last year?
BRUCE ARENA: I think our team is similar in a lot of ways. I think we're much more experienced, though. Last year we built our team from scratch, from the 2008 season, and we were still somewhat inexperienced as a group together.
And this year we're much more familiar with each other. I think they understand me a little bit better, and we're a little bit comfortable, and we know what it takes a little bit more than we did last year.
So I think although our teams are very similar, obviously the same personnel, I think we're more experienced.
Q. I was just wondering whether you thought this game on Sunday at home is sufficient reward for winning the regular season title, and if it's insufficient, how should MLS change its rules to make the regular season title more meaningful? Should, for example, the Home Depot Center be hosting MLS Cup, assuming you make it past Dallas?
BRUCE ARENA: You know, I've got a lot of opinions. It really doesn't matter at this point. I think the one thing we're well aware of is that when we started the season, all of us understood the competitive rules for the playoffs. We all understood what rewards are associated with the regular season. We were fortunate to win the Supporters' Shield, and we automatically go into group play of the Champions League last year. We understood the playoff possibilities and what they entailed. So we're not surprised by anything.
And all I'll say, like I've said all along, if we want to change things, as coaches and technical directors and general managers, we need to do a better job educating our ownership so our ownership can emphasize what we think is important to the league. And if we can do that correctly, we'll make some changes.
You know, I think a lot of us at this point in the league believe that there should be a greater reward for regular season champions. We also believe that the playoff format can change. We also believe that where the final is can change. However, if we're not good in communicating and discussing this information with our ownership, it's not going to happen.
The burden is on really the technical people at each team to emphasize to their ownership group what's important and make some suggestions on how we can change things. But one thing I'm not going to do at this point is just bitch about it all the time. It is what it is. We're not surprised by anything we've seen from the regular season and the postseason. It was well understood before the season began, so why complain about it now?
LANDON DONOVAN: I agree with everything Bruce said. I will just add that I've been on both sides of the coin where we snuck in as an eighth seed or a fourth seed in the west and won the championship, and I've been on the other side now last year and this year where we were the top seed. And having gone through both of them, I would say it's absolutely not sufficient of a reward for what you go through 30 games in the regular season. My opinion would be that there needs to be a change.
Q. Bruce, I would just like to ask, how is Edson Buddle's health? He looked like he may have had an issue when he was subbed Sunday, and I was wondering how he is going into the game this weekend?
BRUCE ARENA: He just got kicked on that one foul with Ianni where Ianni was carded when he clipped him from behind, but he's fine. He trained today. He's ready to go.
Q. Bruce, first of all, on the center back pairing, you said on Sunday that Gregg Berhalter is ready to play, but A.J. DeLaGarza and Gonzalez have been playing pretty well together, they have the chemistry going back to Maryland. Do you expect to play them again, and what challenges do you think Dallas could bring to that pairing? And secondly, during the last call, Schellas Hyndman talked a lot about the physical play that you brought to the first game against Seattle, specifically with Dema Kovalenko, and he stressed the importance of the officials. Can you talk about how physical play is going to impact the game on Sunday?
BRUCE ARENA: Well, really in our series at Seattle there wasn't any physical play. There were one or two fouls that you could be concerned about, and they drew cards. But somebody is confused. There was no physical play. Two teams playing and trying to win. I didn't see anything that was extraordinary in terms of the physicality of the game.
The other question you had was what?
Q. Regarding DeLaGarza and Gonzalez --
BRUCE ARENA: You know, we haven't decided on our first 11 for the game Sunday obviously at this point, but we now have a full team that's basically fit, so we have some options basically everywhere on the field. We're going to make some decisions later in the week and we're going to put the 11 players on the field that we think gives us the best chance to beat Dallas. So that's going to be the decisions.
Dallas, regardless of who we play in the back, poses the same problems. They've got a very good quickness in the attack. The combination of Cunningham as a high forward and Ferreira coming from behind and the options they have on the flanks, they can beat you in a lot of different ways. But their speed of play has been good, and Ferreira is an outstanding player, and he's certainly a player we have to watch.
But regardless of who we play in the back, those same qualities will present themselves for Dallas.
Q. Landon, as you are obviously well aware, this whole thing can come down to penalty kicks, and I'm wondering without obviously giving anything away here if you could kind of take me through what goes through your head when you step up to the spot in a big situation like this in a shootout where the whole thing is riding on it. Do you know before the whole thing even starts where you're going, or do you kind of check out the keeper and see what he's looking like?
LANDON DONOVAN: I'm not going to take you through that. My thought is to score. The odds are certainly in your favor during a penalty shootout, and we do everything we can to prepare and make sure that we score.
Q. For Bruce and Landon, Los Angeles has a 9-3-3 record on the road. Why has the team been better on the road than at home at the Home Depot Center? And you've had some success against FC Dallas this season. What have you learned from the two regular season wins that you'll carry into Sunday night?
BRUCE ARENA: Well, I think the reason we have a good record on the road as well as a good record at home which adds to having the best record in MLS is because we have a good team, an experienced team, and we know how to play on the road. We also think we know how to play at home. I think we've won 10 games at home this year and we've won nine on the road. We're not a poor team at home, either. I think it's just the simple quality of having a good team that you can win anywhere at any time. And I think we've been able to prove that. We had a good team on the road in 2009, as well.
The second part of your question was what have we learned about FC Dallas? We've learned they've a very good team. The game a couple weeks ago certainly demonstrated that. I followed them closely during the season. I think Schellas has done a fabulous job with his team. I think the coaches that have been nominated for Coach of the Year and others like Frank Yallop and Ziggy, the coaching in this league has been tremendous this year, and I think it's probably been highlighted by Schellas this year and what a super job he's done with Dallas.
It's going to be a tough game. That's what we learned from the two previous games this year, and we know the team is going to have to be ready to play in order to be successful.
Q. The Galaxy has a strong Brazilian influence on the team with guys like Juninho, Alex Cazumba, Leonardo. Can you talk a little bit about their influence on your style of play and on your results this season and talk a little bit about the possibility of them being back for next season's campaign?
BRUCE ARENA: Well, they've had a great influence. We had them in last year on trial for ten days after scouting them down in Brazil, and we liked the way they fit in. They helped fill voids in areas of the field that we needed help in.
But I think what we found out this year is that they're not only good players but they're good people and they fit in quite well with our team. We expect to have them back next year. We haven't gotten into those discussions at this point yet, but they're three players we'd like to have back next year.
End of FastScripts