Western Conference Finalists for the first time in 11 seasons, FC Dallas’ reserves began training with a high-paced dribbling exercise conducted by assistant coach Marco Ferruzzi. Meanwhile, the first team completed a recovery session with Michael Johnson Performance Center's Steward Carlisle.
In four lines, groups of three slalomed through training poles before passing the ball off to the line of players facing them. The drill created constant movement and got players back to basics heading into the biggest match FC Dallas has played since falling 3-1 to the Los Angeles Galaxy in game three of the Western Conference Championship on Nov. 11, 1999.
A familiar presence instilled confidence in the squad throughout the morning as Atiba Harris’ size, strength and heart returned to the lineup of available players for Sunday’s match with Los Angeles (8 p.m. CT on ESPN2).
Bits and Pieces
Following the initial regeneration session, the first team jogged several laps. Tagging along on his own recovery routine was defender Heath Pearce. The step towards recovery may be a small one, but Pearce looked as nimble as ever in his first day off of the stationary bike. Kevin Hartman, the Man of the Match against Real Salt Lake, completed his everyday work load. The veteran goalkeeper faced shots from backup goalkeeper Dario Sala, goalkeeper coach Drew Keeshan and reserve goalkeeper Josh Lambo while the reserves completed the dribbling exercise.
Hartman joined the reserves for the next activity of the day – a three-on-three scrimmage in a 30-yard area. The drill began with a solid play from Harris, who shielded the ball from his defender before delivering a heel pass to a streaking Jason Yeisley. The rookie forward out of Penn State knocked a shot low and hard to the back post.
Sala made several pretty saves during the drill. He robbed Bruno Guarda from point-blank range on multiple attempts, but his best was his last. After a shot attempt was blocked in front, Sala got back to his line to deny Victor Ulloa, who caught the ball on the volley and blasted a line drive right at the goalkeeper.
FC Dallas Head Coach Schellas Hyndman on his team’s play this season
"If I had one sentence to describe the way FC Dallas has played this season, I would say we have played with great character."
Hyndman on Marvin Chavez
"He was a complete handful for [Real Salt Lake]. They had no way to match his speed. Chavez would have been one of the heroes of the day if he could have put that ball away at the end of the first half, but still, he was constantly there making plays."
David Ferreira on if he would like to win the MVP trophy
"That would be good, but it would not just be because of me. It would be because of our goalkeeper, our defenders, our midfielders – everyone who helped me win the award. I certainly want to win it. I would probably take everyone out for a big dinner celebration, even the media."
George John on limiting Real Salt Lake to one goal in hostile Rio Tinto Stadium
"We did our best to hold our composure. It was unfortunate we couldn’t get another goal on the counter but we still managed to hang in there."