FC Dallas completed its second of three training sessions today in preparation of Thursday’s match at Pizza Hut Park against Red Bull New York (8 p.m. CT on FSSW Plus).
George John returned to practice today. He looked as sharp as ever after missing several days of practice and FC Dallas’ last match against San Jose as a precautionary measure. John exited FC Dallas’ 1-0 win against Toronto FC on Sept. 4 in the 54th minute due to a tight hamstring.
Attacking in numbers
The session began with an all-inclusive drill that focused on possessing the ball and constructing an attack. Instead of a goal, FC Dallas Assistant Coach John Ellinger placed a target player on the end lines. The target player was allowed to move along the end line to receive a pass, but a return pass from the target player was required to score a point. This forced every player on the field to make runs into the attack.
The second drill of the day put the pressure on FC Dallas’ defenders. In pairs of two: George John, Kyle Davies, Zach Loyd, Heath Pearce, Edson Edward, Eric Alexander, Jair Benitez and Moises Hernandez protected goals in front of Kevin Hartman and Dario Sala. The goals were roughly 40 yards apart and groups of players stood on either flank, serving balls into attacking players.
The attacking players made runs in groups of four. The drill was repeated until the attacking players had received a ball in from both flanks at each goal, a cycle of four crosses.
Goal of the day
The best combination of the day was between Jeff Cunningham and David Ferreira. Cunningham brought a cross down at the far post close to the corner flag. Instead of sending the ball back across the face of the goal, Cunningham noticed Ferreira backpedaling towards the top of the box. Cunningham chipped a ball to Ferreira, who calmly struck a volley low to the back post.
Moments later Peri Marosevic found himself in a similar spot on the field. Marosevic one-touched a cross to the feet of Dax McCarty, who finished clinically to the near post. The goal was not quite as pretty as Ferreira’s goal, but having come from the foot of McCarty, it may carry more weight heading into Thursday’s game against Red Bull New York (McCarty has two goals in FC Dallas’ last two games against Red Bull New York).
Dax McCarty on returning to the lineup
"I feel ready. It’s up to the coaching staff now. Whether it’s 15 minutes, 45 minutes, whatever they need from me, I am ready. I feel good. I feel fit."
Hyndman on Red Bull New York
"This will be the first time we will see three Designated Players on the field at one time. Juan Pablo Angel has had a lot of success against us already [four goals in last three games versus FC Dallas]. The addition of Rafael Márquez and Thierry Henry forces our defenders to be very good one-on-one."