FC Dallas Head Coach Schellas Hyndman used his only practice on the Rio Tinto Stadium field to familiarize his squad with the turf and the altitude. Due to some traffic issues on the 20-minute drive from Salt Lake City to Sandy, Utah, the session began around 2 p.m. MT.
The only drill of the day focused on maintaining possession. Teams of eight sought to complete as many passes as possible without turning the ball over in a 40x40 yard area. Hyndman brought the first portion of the drill to an end after about 15 minutes of high-paced action.
For the second version of the same drill, Hyndman simply added goals. Dax McCarty and Ruben Luna scored for the green team while Jeff Cunningham found the back of the net for the blue side. Eric Avila continued his hot play as of late. The technical midfielder created numerous chances in the blue team’s defensive third of the field.
Practice came to an abrupt end following the possession drill at 2:40 p.m. MT. The team circled up for a cool down stretch led by FC Dallas Assistant Coach Marco Ferruzzi. Kevin Hartman, coincidentally the last goalkeeper to win a match at Rio Tinto Stadium, worked with FC Dallas Goalkeeper Coach Drew Keeshan for the entirety of the field players’ stretching session. The veteran goalkeeper looked as sharp as ever, stopping shots in three-strike intervals from various positions around the top of the box.
SEE: Photos from Rio Tinto training session
Altitude versus attitude
The team came in for a short inspirational talk from coach Hyndman at 2:55 p.m. MT. Hyndman began by mentioning Thursday night’s playoff match between the San Jose Earthquakes and Red Bull New York. He pointed out the “win at any cost attitude" of San Jose against the bright stars of Red Bull New York.
“When teams come out here they have to deal with the altitude,” Hyndman reiterated during an interview following practice. “The team that comes in here and wins a game will have done so because they had the right attitude.”