Friday October 22, 2010
Back on the road again. This time to LA and the last regular season game vs. the Los Angeles Galaxy in the Home Depot Center. Because we are flying across two time zones, we take advantage of the MLS approved extra day to help the players prepare for this important fixture. Once again, I can’t tell you often enough how pleasant it is to fly with American Airlines. The treatment AA travelers receive is second to none. This time though we met one of our favorite American Airline folks. Sally “O” is an adherent Dallas sports fan who is not afraid to voice her thoughts on how the two Dallas bound play-off teams (don’t forget the Rangers) will make out. I found her giving Coach Hyndman solid advice as we waited to board our flight to LA.
After checking in to our Torrance based Marriott, Coach Hyndman, Coach
Ellinger and myself headed off to watch UCLA play Stanford. Before the
game we had the opportunity to get player insights from Coach Salcedo
(UCLA) and Coach Simon (Stanford). For the record the game ended in a
1-0 win for the home side. We try not to waste any opportunity to
identify prospective players when we can fit them into our travel
schedules. Did I mention that Coach Ferruzzi and Coach Keeshan were in
Las Vegas watching UNLV play Cal State Bakersfield? I am grateful for
the coaching staff’s willingness to go the extra mile to accommodate
FCD’s efforts in this respect.
Saturday October 23, 2010
An early morning walk was followed by a chat with an agent (yes, we do talk with these guys from time to time). Since Chicago is playing Chivas today in LA, I have an opportunity to meet with members of the Fire’s coaching staff. As usual our conversations help solve the world’s “footballing” issues (now if only the world would listen to us). Another group staying at the Torrance Marriott South Bay is Seattle’s Academy teams (U16 & U18). Quite the soccer hotel for the weekend!
Practice is scheduled for 12 noon and everything goes off without any hitches. Coaches Keeshan and Ferruzzi make it in, none the worse for wear following their drive from Las Vegas. Except that goalkeeper Coach Drew Keeshan managed to roll his ankle warming up Dario Sala and Kevin Hartman. Trainer Josh Watts told him to suck it up and play through it. So much for staff TLC! However, one thing for certain, MLS teams are very well organized for hosting visiting teams and protocol is followed to the letter.
While the team returns to the hotel and rests for tomorrow's game, I headed
north on a two hour drive to the University of California Santa
Barbara to watch a NCAA division game between UCSB and California State
Northridge. Not much of a contest as UCSB jumps out to a 3-0 lead within
the first 15 minutes, but the large home crowd obviously enjoyed the
score line as the Gauchos went on to win 4-0. UCSB will be the host
venue for the 2010 Men’s College Cup on December 10 – 12.
Sunday October 24, 2010
The last regular season game day. An early morning walk and breakfast with Coach Hyndman starts the day as we catch up on matters. Even though his focus is very much on the immediate game, Coach is always thinking ahead. Be it play-off preparations or post season events, we are always thinking two moves ahead. These early morning chats are crucial to getting things done.
Game preparations go well but the result does not. With enforced changes and the play-off home and away series upcoming, the FC Dallas coaching staff decided to play a modified shift line up against the Galaxy. It is important to note that even with key players missing FCD could have won this important league encounter. As is their way, after the match the staff and players reflect on game positives and immediately turn their attention to the next game against Real Salt Lake in Frisco on Saturday.
At any rate, once we were back at the hotel, it was back to the business
of planning ahead as Coach Hyndman and I met with another agent.
Discussions went on until midnight.
Monday October 25, 2010
Travel day back to Dallas on the 10:45 am AA Flight 424 out of LAX. All smooth on this trip once again. The players are in reasonable spirits considering the loss and they suppress their feeling about key match decisions that went in LA’s favor. What is done is done and we move on is the prevailing attitude. By the time the players and staff arrive at Pizza Hut Park plans are already being put in place for the two game play-off series against Real Salt Lake.
Until next time travel safe,