Preseason: Day 4 - Fri. Jan. 20
Friday morning began with short-sided games. Forward Scott Sealy, who looked strong on Tuesday, continued to impress. Posting up a defender, Sealy again demonstrated the ability to hold the ball, combine with teammates and even turn towards goal. His first opportunity came from a long throw by goalkeeper Chris Seitz. Sealy received the ball with his left foot, turned and struck a hard shot high into the corner of the goal. A short time later Sealy combined with Bobby Warshaw for another goal. The opposing team battled back with goals from Home Growns Ruben Luna and Bryan Leyva.
After 30 minutes of action, head coach Schellas Hyndman enlarged the field and broke all the players into teams of four for a tournament. Fabian Castillo looked great on the dribble, cutting through opposing defenses and creating opportunities out of nothing. Moises Hernandez snuck a centering pass into Warshaw for a goal reminiscent of Thursday’s strike from Ricardo Villar. But the session was highlighted by Kevin Hartman, who absolutely robbed the red team of a beautiful goal.
It began with yet another combo between Warshaw and Villar. In the center of the field, Villar shook his mark and slipped a pass inside to Sealy, who was posting up his defender. Sealy feinted left before leaving the ball for rookie Matt Hedges to strike, but Hartman changed off his line to make an outstanding left-handed save. Fortunately for the red team, the save did not decide their fate as they went on to win the tournament.
Preseason: Day 3 - Thurs. Jan. 10
Following an afternoon off on Wednesday, FC Dallas began its third day of preseason training with a finishing drill directed by Hyndman. Only the offensive players took part in the drill, which focused on checking to the ball, quick combinations and one-time finishing. Luna, who spent some of his offseason with Sporting Lisbon of the Primeira Divisão (Portuguese First Division) did well. The forwards’ lone opposition throughout the drill was Mexican U-17 World Cup Champion Richard Sanchez, who denied the strikers of several point-blank opportunities.
Hyndman’s second drill of the day was defensive in nature. He lined up two teams of eight in a 50-yard area.
Red team (Left-to-right, 4-4 formation, defense first): Moises Hernandez, Jack Stewart, Bobby Warshaw, Martin John, Bryan Leyva, Ricardo Villar, Scott Sealy, Jonathan Top.
Green team (Left-to-right, 4-4 formation, defense first): Jair Benitez, Matt Hedges, Christian Ibeagha, Scott Gordon, Andrew Wiedeman, Bruno Guarda, Ruben Luna, Fabian Castillo.
Throughout the drill Hyndman directed the teams to keep their shape, be patient and keep the ball in front of them.
Flank play was the focus of Thursday evening’s training session. The first drill was a familiar one from last season. It forced the teams to get the ball wide or get the ball to the end line before they were allowed to go to goal. After a 20-minute session, Hyndman took away the end line options to concentrate on crossing and defending against crosses.
Leyva had a strong showing for the red team. Playing on the left flank, Leyva played a perfect ball to the far post for Wiedeman, who timed his run nicely. The third-year forward brought the ball down with his chest before finishing with a hard shot to the back post. Going the opposite direction, Luna worked an opening with Sealy to even the score, but the red team struck again with a centering pass by Warshaw that was finished off by Villar.
Red took a 3-1 lead when Villar played a ball into space for Wiedeman. Looking at a shot from a tough angle, Wiedeman faked a shot and back-heeled a pass into the path of Top. Top arrived at the ball at the same time as a defender, but managed to muscle a path through a group of defenders before poking a shot by the goalkeeper.