After suffering just their third defeat this season on Saturday vs. Real Salt Lake, FC Dallas returned to the practice pitch at Pizza Hut Park today for training. The team is scheduled to leave for Los Angeles on Friday and practice once at The Home Depot Center on Saturday in preparation of Sunday’s game versus the Galaxy.
An FC Dallas win this Saturday in Los Angeles (7 p.m. Central Time on FSSW) combined with a Real Salt Lake victory against Colorado would give the Supporters’ Shield and the number one seed in the Western Conference to RSL. Those results would set up a home-and-away series between the Galaxy and FC Dallas in the first round of playoffs. Should FC Dallas fall to Los Angeles, a playoff match with the Galaxy could still be in the cards should Seattle pick up three points in Houston on Saturday.
If Salt Lake and Los Angeles finish the regular season tied in points (56), RSL would win the Supporters’ Shield based on goal differential. Los Angeles currently has a goal differential of 17, while RSL is plus 25.
FC Dallas Starters
The FC Dallas starting 11, minus Dario Sala, completed a regeneration session on Field Seven led by Michael Johnson Performance Center's Steward Carlisle.
FC Dallas Reserves
The first drill following warm-ups today was an often used end-to-end crossing and finishing drill which utilizes a target forward, a bit of combination play through the middle of the field, a through ball to the corner and service in to a striker. Bryan Leyva played a nice ball in for Jeff Cunningham to clinically knock into the top corner of the goal for the first solid goal of the day. Moises Hernandez followed with a one-hop ball in to Ruben Luna, who crushed the ball just over the head of MLS pool goalkeeper Chris Sharpe from close range. Atiba Harris scored a goal on a diving header late in the drill on a ball played in by Cunningham.
FC Dallas Head Coach Schellas Hyndman brought the goals in to roughly 25-yards apart for a three-on-three drill that ran for the remainder of practice. Wearing green, Brek Shea, Eric Avila and Eric Alexander took on Harris, Peri Marosevic and Bruno Guarda in orange. That match finished 2-0 in favor of the green team. The second match was between Jason Yeisley, Victor Ulloa and Hernandez, who were in blue versus Luna, Andrew Wiedeman and Leyva, who were in white. Wiedeman scored his first of several goals in the drill on a one-two pass with Luna and the white team prevailed 2-0.
Next up, Zach Loyd, Cunningham and Ulloa took on the green team in a match that finished 0-0.
Two great saves by Josh Lambo kept the white team alive in their match against orange, but eventually Marosevic had a nice turn on goal on a ball rolled in by Kevin Hartman and finished low to the corner for the 1-0 win.
Loyd used a similar move to net the game-winner for blue in their match against green. Wiedeman hooked up with Cunningham to score another goal via a one-two pass before Luna toasted his defender for another 2-0 win for white.
Green took a 1-0 lead on a goal from the left flank from Shea. The team went up 2-0 on a Yeisley tip-in just before Ulloa made it 2-1 by nailing the back post from 20-yards out.
The drill ended on a ball played into the area by Loyd. At the six yard line Ulloa got just enough on the pass to knock it past Hartman for the final victory of the day.
Practice officially ended at 11:30 a.m. Central Time. Hyndman walked over to take in some extra goalkeeper training while the field players stretched out.
Hyndman on the match with Real Salt Lake
"After watching the tape of Saturday’s game, I don’t think we played as bad as I initially thought. We just failed to get any real scoring opportunities. I thought we played very well the first 15-18 minutes, but then we turned the ball over and they gained some confidence. We lost to a good team on their home field. Some key plays didn’t go our way. I don’t think the altitude affected our fitness, but it did cause us some problems on the flight of the ball. For example, David [Ferreira] had some trouble hitting corners over the heads of our players and out of bounds."