FRISCO, Texas — When he departed from Celta Vigo following the 2004 season, FC Dallas assistant Peter Luccin joined Atletico Madrid, a club he would play at for three years. He would go on to appear in 89 matches — the most he has ever played in for one club.
Before he left for Madrid, Luccin caught the interest of another team in Spain. The one FC Dallas will face Wednesday night in a friendly match at Toyota Stadium — Sevilla FC.
Luccin would’ve played with Brazilian international Dani Alves, who spent 2002-2008 with Sevilla, along with the club’s all-time leading goal scorer, Frédéric Kanouté. Luccin’s decorated career spans across 18 years, 10 different clubs and four countries where he made 392 appearances for some of the best teams in Europe.
Now at an assistant coach at FC Dallas, the final club he played for, Luccin said facing teams from Europe sometimes takes him back to his playing days. He has fond memories playing in France and Spain, among other countries, and he knows Wednesday’s match against Sevilla FC will be great for his guys at FC Dallas and their growth.
“I have good memories,” Luccin said. “It’s amazing for us, it’s amazing for the players to have that opportunity. In the end, we have a young group who want to improve in so many aspects of the game. When we are playing against a top team like Sevilla, you want to learn around the guys. It’s going to be perfect for us to play that game, not to be shy, because we’re not going to play like it’s a friendly.”
FC Dallas defender Reto Ziegler knows what it’s like to play against top teams in Europe having played for teams like Tottenham, Juventus and Fenerbahçe before arriving at FC Dallas. Even though he’s played in countries such as England, Italy and Russia, Ziegler didn’t get the chance to play against many Spanish sides.
Similarly to Luccin, Ziegler knows facing a team like Sevilla will only be a positive experience for the team, especially the young players.
“Of course, the Spanish teams are the ones that we’re always interested to watch on TV because they are very technical,” Ziegler said. “They play a high-level football, and they’re really fast. It will be a great opportunity for us to play the way we play and test it against a team like Sevilla. We’re going to be ready for that, and it’s going to be a good game.”
Spanish sides historically don’t let opponents stay on the ball for long sequences, playing with an intense, high press. Players don’t get significant time on the ball due to the pressure Sevilla will likely present against FC Dallas, but Ziegler said if the team can adapt to that kind of pressure, it will improve immensely for MLS play this weekend.
Even though the Sevilla match is only a friendly, FCD has the opportunity to learn from on of Europe’s most decorated and well-known clubs. The experience will be good for the players, the young ones in particular, and the team will see a different style of play then they’re used to from MLS teams.
It’s another step in the right direction for the club, which is looking to improve with each week and each experience.
“Trust me, they are going to learn,” Luccin said. “They learned with Xolos, and they’re going to learn about Sevilla. They’re a top team known around the world, so it’s going to be great for us.”