MONTERREY, Mexico — Game day in Monterrey began with breakfast at 8 a.m. MT this morning. The robust spread included fruit, yogurt, deli meat, cereal, waffles, cheese, scrambled eggs, home fries and a hotdog-like version of breakfast sausage.
Following breakfast, the team had an hour to relax before filing onto a bus for the 20-minute drive to training. On the way to the training field at the Facultad de Medicina at the University of Nuevo Leon, the bus passed a Mexican landmark called the Bandera Monumental. One of the biggest Mexican flags in the world, the Bandera Monumental is located at the top of the Cerro del Obispado. It was inaugurated on February 24, 2005 to celebrate Mexican Flag Day. The pole itself weighs 120 tons and is 110 yards in high. The flag is 55 yards long by 31 yards high, weighting 506 pounds.
The team began training by jogging several laps around the field before settling on the center circle as a good spot to stretch. FC Dallas assistant coach Marco Ferruzzi led the stretch for 20 minutes before calling for a few balls to be played into him from the west goal. Goalkeeper coach Drew Keeshan complied. He attempted to send several balls into Ferruzzi via a side-volley punt from 50-yards away, but could not dial in the proper trajectory.
It must have been the ball. While MLS teams use the adidas Jabulani, Tigres and the Mexican Primera Division use the Voit HED, which is softer and weighs less.
“The balls are light, like a balloon,” confirmed FC Dallas assistant coach John Ellinger following training.
In any case, when the Voit HED’s finally arrived in the center circle, Ferruzzi led the team though several easy passing drills.
After breaking for a drink of water, FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman gathered the team for a short talk before handing out pinnies and dividing the 16 field players into two teams for a possession game in a 40-yard area.
Green: Andrew Jacobson, Bruno Guarda, Eric Avila, Brek Shea, Ugo Ihemelu, Andrew Wiedeman, Peri Marosevic and a trialist
Stripes: Jair Benitez, Eric Alexander, Ruben Luna, Zach Loyd, Daniel Hernandez, Bobby Warshaw, George John, Ricardo Villar
After 10 minutes of putting passes together on their own, Hyndman stipulated that the first team to put together eight consecutive passes would be declared the winner. The two sides battled for several minutes before Bruno Guarda led a charge in the southwest corner of the area and got the elusive eighth pass.
Following training, the team returned to the bus for a trip to El Estadio Universitario, the home of Tigres UANL. Roughly a 10-minute drive from the training field, the El Estadio Universitario seats roughly 45,000 spectators. Tigres officials report they have a season ticket holder base of 38,000 that are welcome to attend tonight’s friendly (9:45 p.m. CT broadcast on Univision 1270 AM with Carlos Alvarado).
The playing surface is 98 yards long and 74 yards wide. In comparison, the stadium field at Pizza Hut Park is 117 by 74. From the field, the most noticeable difference between the two stadiums is the height of Tigres’ stands, which all but close off the sky. The seating also extends down to the field level, no more than 10 yards away from the goal.
Stay tuned to FCDallas.com for the match recap from tonight's friendly. The squad returns home tomorrow for a reserve match vs. the US U-20s at 6 p.m. before taking on San Jose at home on Saturday night at 8 p.m.