Preseason: Day 2 - Wed. Jan. 18
Passing and movement off the ball
FC Dallas’ second day of action began with a keep-away drill. Simple at first the three-on-three-on-three drill quickly became more difficult as Hyndman added variations to the game. Each change made identifying the next pass more difficult and therefore increased the importance of movement off the ball.
For example, players on the red team could only pass to players on the green team, while keeping possession against members of the grey team. Once the grey team won the ball back, they could only pass to members of the green team, while holding possession against the red team. Each pass had to go to a member of the opposite team (red, green, red, green, etc.) while the third team defended.
After the passing drill, Hyndman returned to Tuesday’s three-on-three games in a 25-yard field. A good battle between center back Scott Gordon and former San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Scott Sealy quickly took form. Sealy posted up the 6-4 defender, but was denied by Gordon on the first attempt. Persistent, Sealy got the ball back on his right foot a few moments later, muscled Gordon to create some space and struck a twirling left-footed blast that found the lower left corner of the net.
On the opposite side of the field, FC Dallas assistant coach John Ellinger ran a continuous three-on-two attacking drill. Fabian Castillo stood out in the drill, finishing three or four chances throughout the session. His best goal of the day came after a shot attempt was blocked back to Castillo’s feet at the top right corner of the area. Castillo took his time and picked out the upper-most corner of the back post, giving the goalkeeper no chance.
Preseason: Day 1 - Tues. Jan. 17
FC Dallas’ first training session of 2012 was highlighted by 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira completing the warm-up drills organized by Michael Johnson Performance’s Daniel Torres. The team stretched, jogged and jumped mini-hurdles before breaking into teams for a combative three-on-three game session on a 25-yard field.
Returning from his training stint with Mexican first division side Santos during the offseason, Bryan Leyva looked confident and creative on the ball. Early in the drill, Leyva took a pass 15-yards from goal, crossed up his defender and curled a shot off the far post behind goalkeeper Chris Seitz. Fortunately for Seitz, the shot hit the post square and rebounded back into play before being collected by one of his team’s defenders.
Going the opposite direction, Ricardo Villar scored twice in quick succession. The first was scored after Villar combined with Victor Ulloa to get in alone against goalkeeper Richard Sanchez. Villar faked a shot before sidestepping the Homegrown player and finishing to the back post. Villar’s second goal came immediately after when Kevin Hartman tossed the ball the length of the field. Again, Villar knocked a shot low to the far post.
Third-year man Andrew Wiedeman took over the second game of the day, scoring two goals in a 3-2 win. The first was another simple finish. He received the ball in-tight against Sanchez and a defender, but managed to free up a shot with his right foot that found the inside of the near post. Wiedeman’s second goal was more skillful. After taking a pass from a teammate, Wiedeman was off-balance and looking at a shot from a tough angle. Despite the added difficulty, Wiedeman hammered a shot high into the center of the net.
FC Dallas’ 2010 and 2011 Defensive MVP, Kevin Hartman entered his 16th MLS preseason camp in top form. Midway through the third three-on-three match of the day, Fabian Castillo beat his defender before striking a line-drive shot at the back post. At the last second, Hartman launched himself to his right side to tip the shot wide of the post.
The first drill FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman ran this season focused on defensive positioning. It consisted of a flat back four facing six offensive players. Hyndman adjusted the spacing between the defensive players. He also explained how the group should move as a unit depending on the point of attack. Hyndman stopped the session briefly to work individually with 23-year-old defender Scott Gordon. Once the drill was reset, FC Dallas’ first round draft selection, Matt Hedges stood out. He denied a centering pass with a timely header at the near post before stepping up to block a shot after a one-on-one situation with Moises Hernandez.