Heading into a match that could preview FC Dallas’ first-round playoff opponent, the team bypassed the usual technical drills that dominate training and went directly to game simulation.
FC Dallas Head Coach Schellas Hyndman broke the squad up into two even teams for a mixed game of 12-on-12 in a 60-yard area.
Blue Team: Brek Shea, Atiba Harris, Jeff Cunningham, Bruno Guarda, Ugo Ihemelu, Bryan Leyva, Andrew Wiedeman, Jason Yeisley, Victor Ulloa, Heath Pearce, Dax McCarty and Jair Benitez
Orange Team: Zach Loyd, George John, Daniel Hernandez, Jackson, David Ferreira, Marvin Chavez, Milton Rodriguez, Moises Hernandez, Peri Marosevic, Eric Alexander, Ruben Luna and Eric Avila
Brek and Avi connect
Brek Shea and Eric Avila demonstrated their usual cohesion early in the scrimmage. From his position on the left flank, Shea sent a ball to the back post for Avila, who rose above his defender to redirect a header on goalkeeper Dario Sala. The veteran goalkeeper did well to tip Avila’s redirection off the crossbar and out of play. The scrimmage concluded after 30 minutes.
Shuffling the starting 11
Hyndman brought his first of many starting units on the day in for a long discussion. After the talk, the team pushed the goals back to 120 yards for a scrimmage against the reserves. The reserves looked very sharp early. On the left flank, Wiedeman, Guarda and Avila combined to beat several defenders. The play resulted in Luna getting a chance on goal, but the 18-year-old got held up by a combination of John and Hernandez. Luna eventually lost the ball on the play, but not before demonstrating Ferreira-like qualities of holding the ball against two of the best defensive players in MLS.
Moments later Shea picked off a pass and was down the left side in a flash. The 20-year-old Texan sent in a low cross to Ferreira, who left the ball for Chavez at the back post. The Honduran made good contact with the on-timer and cracked a ball off the far post.
Hyndman never let play go on for long periods of time. He made frequent corrections to defensive player positioning and movement options off the ball. Hyndman shuffled his lineup after 20 minutes of play before another long talk and subsequent scrimmage.
The highlight of the second round was a give-and-go between speedster Marvin Chavez and defender Jair Benitez. After picking off a pass, Chavez dropped the ball for Benitez before exploding towards the corner flag. Benitez feinted in the direction of his center back before lofting a ball into space for Chavez, who got a shot on goal from the combination play.
“Chavez tracked the ball down 26 times during our match against Real Salt Lake,” Hyndman said after practice. “He won a lot of balls he had no business winning. That’s a great stat. It really shows his value.”
Hyndman on Ferreira’s Durability
"It’s a long season and I think he’s still the most fouled player in the league [Ferreira broke the FC Dallas franchise record for most fouls suffered in a single season (previously 77 by Oscar Pareja in 2000) against Colorado on Oct. 9].
"He took a really hard foul very early against Real Salt Lake. The thinking of the opposition is that if you stop David Ferreira, you stop FC Dallas. He came over and told me he was hurting, but that he wanted to stay in the game. You could probably see he turned some balls over uncharacteristically. All you can do is hope the calls come our way when they occur."