FC Dallas Training Report: 11/20

FC Dallas focuses on defense in final BMO practice

TORONTO -- FC Dallas Head Coach Schellas Hyndman had the luxury of seeing team captain Daniel Hernandez, defender Heath Pearce and forward Milton Rodriguez return for a full training session this morning at BMO Field in Toronto. With the team closer to full strength, Hyndman must now determine the 18 men that will represent FC Dallas in its first MLS Cup Final.

WATCH: Bobby Rhine recaps today's training session

Defending against corners
After a short game of keep away in a 40x40 yard area, the team went to the south goal to work on defending against corner kicks. Tall center backs Ugo Ihemelu and George John won the majority of the crosses sent in by Eric Avila. The play typically continued until the defenders ushered the ball out of the back for a quick counter-attack. Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman contributed to a strong defensive showing by intercepting the balls not won by defenders. Atiba Harris also used his height advantage to win multiple 50-50 balls.

Tightening up FC Dallas’ center backs
Approximately 45 minutes into the training session, Hyndman gathered John, Ihemelu, Ruben Luna and Edson Edward and headed towards the north goal. Working one-on-one against John, Luna made a series of runs while Hyndman worked a combination play with Edward. Once Luna came open, Edward would knock a ball into space to force John to defend against Luna alone. Following several short talks from Hyndman over the course of five repetitions, John switched out with Ihemelu and ran the same drill.

At one point, Luna collected a ball near the corner of the 18 and dribbled in on Ihemelu. Very adept at finding small shooting lanes in a defense, Luna looked to have a window on two different occasions only to have Ihemelu recover in time. When Luna finally did pull the trigger, the big defender was there to knock the shot away.

After 10 minutes of work, the players rejoined the rest of the team for an often-used finishing drill.

FC Dallas' last practice of 2010 ended at 10:55 a.m. with, appropriately enough, a motivational speech from Clark Hunt. The team will put everything on the line tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. CT (ESPN) at BMO Field when they face off against the Colorado Rapids for the MLS Cup.

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