Following a day of rest, FC Dallas returned to the adidas Field today in preparation of Saturday’s match against the Chicago Fire at Pizza Hut Park (7:30 p.m. Central Time on Fox Soccer Channel). On a perfect, 80-degree day, warm-ups ended with a strenuous conditioning drill. The only thing better than the weather was seeing center backs George John and Ugo Ihemelu present during warm-up drills.
FC Dallas got the opportunity to test out some potential 2012 match balls and a new line of adidas Predators at practice today.
“It is fantastic that adidas would choose FC Dallas for a testing site,” FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said. “We have several Generation adidas players on the team. I can see why they would want to come here.”
A perfect storm of cooler weather, shiny boots, a 17-game unbeaten streak and the chance to clinch a playoff berth on Saturday fueled one of the more electric FC Dallas practice sessions of the season. Jeff Cunningham had his own reason to be amped up (one goal away from tying Jaime Moreno for the all-time MLS scoring title), and he was, scoring a handful of goals before the five minute mark of the first drill.
The drill was 12 versus 12 in a 90-yard area with three goals on either end line. Dario Sala and MLS pool goalkeeper Chris Sharpe patrolled the standard goals, while defenders were responsible for guarding the smaller goals stationed near both corner flags. Hyndman turned the drill into a two-touch game after five minutes.
“Open wide and open early,” he instructed his players after making the first change. “Don’t leave your teammate alone. If you intercept the ball, you get two touches.”
Maintaining defensive shape
Hyndman then pushed the goal back to its normal position to work with the first team defense. Hyndman instructed the defense to maintain their shape as the offense switched the point of attack. On offense: Brek Shea, Dax McCarty, Eric Avila, Moises Hernandez, Victor Ulloa, Atiba Harris and Edson Edward quickly gained the upper hand. Shea broke open on the first offensive possession, just to the right of goalkeeper Dario Sala. Shea corralled a pass before taking a long look at the back post and sending a sharp pass low to the corner.
Moments later, Hernandez tapped a ball inside to Shea, who sent a dangerous cross into the box. Atiba Harris broke to the ball first and finished an uncontested one-timer from six yards out.
Maintaining cardiovascular shape
Hyndman ended the drill at 11:35 a.m. Then the FC Dallas training staff took over, running the team through a timed session of 80-yard sprints. The team circled up and stretched before breaking off in their various post-practice routines.
Hyndman on FC Dallas’ Hispanic Heritage Night on Oct. 2
We have encouraged our Spanish players to become part of the community. Eduardo Carvacho [Senior Director of Hispanic Sales & Marketing] has done a great job of getting players to the right places.
Hyndman on Eric Alexander
Believe it or not, we almost loaned him out to Austin [Aztex of USSF D-2] earlier in the season. I came to him and asked if he was interested in going down there to get some more games and he said ‘If I am going to play in this league, I need to be under your eyes.’ What a great statement from a young player. And look at him now.