FCD starting lineup works toward opening day

First team works to come together on field

Ugo

For FC Dallas fans eagerly awaiting MLS First Kick on March 11th, four weeks seems like an eternity.

The club, however, could use more time.

With fresh faces and recovering starters littering the roster, FC Dallas now faces the challenge of finding their form before facing New York on opening day.

“We’re not there yet,” manager Schellas Hyndman said. “Actually, we’re far from there.”

While the entire projected starting XI is in camp, injuries have limited many of the team’s key contributors this preseason.

2010 MVP David Ferreira continues to rehab from the fractured right ankle he suffered last April. The Colombian midfielder is participating in drills, but has yet to fully practice with the squad.

Central midfielders Daniel Hernandez and Andrew Jacobson are progressing well in their recoveries from offseason knee surgery, but are taking a cautious approach to the preseason.

Veteran center back Ugo Ihemelu, entering his third season with the club, has also been slowed by a minor calf injury to start the preseason.

“David and Daniel are still out. AJ and Ugo are just coming back, and we’re working in [Hernán] Pertúz and Blas [Perez],” Hyndman said.  “It’s an adjustment, but we also realize that in four weeks, we play.”

Though the team has competed in five scrimmages over the past 10 days, much of the action has featured trialists and probable reserve players. Creating chemistry in such a short period of time will be difficult for the regulars, and the first team could surely benefit from some time together on the field.

“It’s still coming together obviously,” Ihemelu said. “I think we’re still trying to find our image exactly, but right now, I think the coaches are taking a step back and trying to build the basics as a team.”

The club is currently in the midst of a two week training stint at home in Frisco.

On Feb. 24, the team will depart for the Disney Pro Soccer Classic in Orlando, a tournament which will feature six MLS clubs. The tournament will serves as the final tune-up before the season kicks off just one week after the club returns.

“I definitely don’t think we will be 100 percent for Orlando,” said Ihemelu. “First game, who knows, it may not even be 100 percent by then. But it’s not how you start the season, it’s how you finish.”