FC Dallas stuck to what has been working for them during training this morning on the adidas Field. MLS Coach of the Year candidate Schellas Hyndman led the team through an oft-used drill designed to force the players to play the ball out wide. In addition to crossing the ball and defending against the cross, the three teams of eight are encouraged to get the ball in deep to players stationed near each post.
Green: Bruno Guarda, Andrew Wiedeman, George John, Peri Marosevic, Jeff Cunningham, Victor Ulloa, Jackson.
Blue: Ruben Luna, Eric Avila, Eric Alexander, Ugo Ihemelu, Bryan Leyva, Dax McCarty, Jason Yeisley
Orange: Jair Benitez, Brek Shea, David Ferreira, Josh Lambo (only used as a target player on the parameter of the playing area), Atiba Harris, Zach Loyd, Moises Hernandez, Marvin Chavez
With the orange team stationed along the outside of the training area as target players, the green team battled blue. Midfielder Dax McCarty picked up a goal for the blue team from the top of the box early in the drill but Peri Marosevic equalized for green shortly after.
Once the orange team took the field, Brek Shea looked solid running at defenders. He made a simple cut inside look spectacular when he went by two defenders. His ensuing shot was a bit too high to trouble goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, but the attacking mentality was nice to see heading into this weekend’s Western Conference Championship (Sunday, Nov. 14 @ 8 p.m. CT) against the Galaxy in Los Angeles.
George John looked energized throughout the drill. The tall center back looks to have returned to his midseason form following the first postseason experience of his career. Having John’s aerial ability back in the lineup is a welcome treat for FC Dallas heading into a match with the Galaxy, who scores a good portion of their goals off set pieces and crosses.
Defending against the diagonal ball
Following the drill, Hyndman spoke to the team before laying out another drill focused on defending against crosses and diagonal balls. Andrew Wiedeman played the part of David Beckham, knocking balls to the top of the area from midfield.
“I don’t think I did him any justice,” Wiedeman said. “It just happens to be a large part of Los Angeles’ offense.”
Hyndman allowed his back four to continually defend against the crosses alone, without the help of the defensive midfield. In addition to winning the ball out of the air, the defense was charged with transitioning the ball out of the back and starting the attack.
“The last time we played Los Angeles, I felt we had some trouble defending against a diagonal ball,” Hyndman said. “Against Seattle it seemed that every time David Beckham touched the ball, he played a diagonal ball. They may look to change things up a bit against us, but I doubt it.”