Monday morning was a welcome site for FC Dallas fans.
Newly acquired forward Blas Pérez joined Brek Shea for their first training session of the season with the club.
“It’s been kind of interesting situation because we’ve had so many players not here or injured,” Hyndman said. “Now that we’re starting to get the players in, the level of practice is raising and there’s more excitement. It’s fantastic.”
Both Pérez and Shea competed in last Wednesday’s friendly match between the U.S. and Panama in Panama City and both were given time off to recover before Monday’s session.
Hyndman is aware that Shea in particular has had little rest this offseason following the team’s 48-game campaign in 2011.
“I even said to Brek, ‘If you need more time, let me know’,” Hyndman said. “He’s been non-stop since last year. He had the national team call-up, went to Arsenal, had another national team call-up, and now he’s back at training.”
Despite the offer from his manager, Shea was ready to join the team on Monday morning.
The American expressed that he felt great physically and denied having heavy legs entering camp. In fact, the midfielder spent extra time on the field after practice, working to improve his close range finishing touch.
“I think I need to improve on everything I do,” Shea said. “You look at one of Arsenal’s top players, Robin van Persie - he’s still telling me that he needs to improve on things. You can never be satisfied or you’ll fall off quickly.”
Monday also marked the beginning of the Blas Pérez era in Dallas.
Pérez joins the team having played last season with León of the Mexican second division, scoring 19 goals in just 23 starts.
The club targeted Pérez for his individual skills as a striker, but the Panamanian was quick to point out the need to gel with his new team.
“I’m happy and motivated,” Pérez said through a translator. “I’m ready to do things the right way and play together as a group.”
The 6-foot-1 forward flashed his skills as a deadly finisher at Monday’s training. Pérez showed both power and accuracy with his right foot from distance, as well as his creativity from close range.
It’s easy to envision a dangerous FC Dallas attack in the coming season with Shea and midfielder Fabian Castillo providing excellent service to Pérez in drills
“They are great players who are very talented,” Pérez said of his new teammates. “As we come together as a group, I think we are going to have a great chance to win a title.”
Converting chances in training is one thing. Doing it in a game against elite competition is another.
And as any follower of the team will tell you, a lot is expected of the 30-year-old Pérez in the upcoming season.
“Any team you go to, you feel pressure,” said Pérez. “But I’m the type of player that’s ready to step up. That’s what I am going to do here.”