FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas received four gifts for Valentine’s Day, as defenders Heath Pearce and George John joined team captain Daniel Hernandez for their first full training session of the season on the adidas field at Pizza Hut Park. The fourth gift was the weather, sunny and 65 degrees, allowing head coach Schellas Hyndman an opportunity to correct his team’s errors in Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo in Corpus Christi, Texas.
WATCH: Bobby Rhine recaps Feb. 14 training session
Zach Loyd (eye contusion), Kyle Davies (recovering from left ankle surgery), Edson Edward (torn ACL), Ugo Ihemelu (recovering from sports hernia surgery) and Charlie Campbell (strained right hamstring).
Hyndman began practice with an often-used game in which two teams of 13 players attempt to score in any one of three goals at opposite end lines. Goals scored on the outside of the field count for one point and goals scored in the middle of the field count for two points. Heath Pearce highlighted the warm-up session with a two-point shot into the upper corner of the goal from 30 yards out. The team broke for water after 20 minutes, then settled into two drills – one run by Hyndman and another directed by FC Dallas Assistant Coach John Ellinger.
In the penalty area on the north side of the field, Ellinger ran an interesting 5-on-3 drill. In red: Pearce, John, Alexis Pradie and Scott Gordon scored points by combining as many passes as possible against the green team (Peri Marosevic, Victor Ulloa and Maykel Galindo). The red team was limited to one touch on the ball per possession, while the green team was allowed unlimited touches on the ball. If the ball left the area, possession always returned to the green team, who was not required to connect passes to score. The green team scored points the conventional way, by beating the goalkeeper. Acting as the fifth player on the red team, Kevin Hartman and Chris Seitz alternated in goal.
On the south side of the field, Hyndman ran an offense versus defense drill. The 2010 MLS Coach of the Year constantly rotated players in and out and from offense to defense. On the defensive side of the ball, Hyndman preached spacing and direction. He directed his players to only allow shots from distance. Once the defense won the ball, they were charged with maintaining possession and transitioning to offense. The defensive team aimed to score in one of two goals located on the outside of midfield.
Following the drills, the team broke up into three groups for an arduous conditioning run. The groups were required to run 800 meters in three-and-a-half minutes. After each run, the players were given a three-and-a-half minute recovery session before the next repetition. The team repeated the run four times.
FC Dallas will return to the practice field at 4:30 today for the second of their two-a-day sessions. Stay tuned to FCDallas.com for a full recap of that session tomorrow.