FRISCO, Texas – Intensity and the Vancouver Whitecaps. Those were the two focuses during FC Dallas’ first training session under new interim head coach Marco Ferruzzi.
The morning began with a short team talk before splitting into two groups – offense and defense – for the remainder of the session.
“First of all, I want them [the players] to be confident, I wanted to let them know that we have the quality to do this,” Ferruzzi told reporters at Toyota Soccer Center afterwards. “But I think the understanding is that there’s going to be another level of intensity and discipline—and just the willingness to not lose. Perhaps some things may get sacrificed in that style a little bit, but for sure they’re going to present a team that’s going to go out fighting.
“I have to win against Vancouver. That’s the message to the team. We have to go win in Vancouver. We’re not talking about playoffs, we’re talking about winning the next game.”
In his Monday press conference, FC Dallas President Dan Hunt lauded the defensive coaching abilities of Ferruzzi—an area where FCD needs improvement after conceding 18 goals over the last eight games. He quickly got to work on that front, closely coaching the shape of the backline and his two defensive midfielders in front of it.
“Our intensity and organization when we’re defending,” said captain Matt Hedges the focus of the session. “Guys are getting in behind us too easily, crossing too easily, and that’s something that in years past it was very hard to get crosses in on us and in behind us. So that’s something that we need to change right away.”
The most obvious difference was the addition of FCD’s second team – North Texas SC – to the morning’s session. Both teams split into offense and defense and played one-sided games with the offenses trying to break down the defenders in front of them.
“Sparring is part of our culture,” Ferruzzi explained. “We’ve been limited in that due to protocols with the pandemic. It’s a great way to activate both groups 100%. It’s very multipurpose. What I love out of those sessions is I’m getting the best out of both sides, the attacking players from North Texas are giving the defense a fantastic session. And same is true on the opposite side where we’re doing the attacking functional against the defenders from North Texas. I love that, I love that integration, it’s part of our culture here at FC Dallas.”
Ferruzzi also gave some insight into the makeup of his technical staff. Assistant coaches Peter Luccin and Chuy Vera will be leaned upon heavily in the new regime, with Luccin focusing on the defense and midfield while Vera works mainly with the attacking players. Longtime goalkeeper coach Drew Keeshan remains in charge of FCD’s goalkeeping core as well as set piece training.
Although in his second stint as Dallas’ interim head coach, Ferruzzi didn’t mince words when asked if he wants the full time job in 2022: