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FCD's rookie defenders ready to step up in Emerald City

FRISCO, Texas - The first road trip to play in front of the nearly 40,000-strong crowd in Seattle is special for any MLS rookie, but don’t expect FCD’s pair of first-year defenders to be overawed by the occasion.

London Woodberry, starter of the last two games at center back, and Walker Zimmerman, who made his MLS debut last Saturday, sounded nothing but confident talking to FCDallas.com on Thursday before leaving for the The Emerald City.

“I’m just pretty much excited,” said Woodberry, a likely starter again on Saturday. “I don’t think I’ve played in front of a crowd that big so that’ll be a big step for me, but I’m going up there to get three points and that’s the focus right now.”

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For Zimmerman, the Seattle game represents the first MLS road trip for FCD’s first-round SuperDraft pick.

“This is the game I’ve been playing my whole life and it’s not like it’s a different game and I’m stepping out there doing something I haven’t done before,” Zimmerman said about playing in Seattle. “If I happen to get some playing time in Seattle, it’d be great and what a way to start out.”

Woodberry’s solid performances filling in for the injured George John have been one of the biggest stories over the last couple weeks and should he make a third-straight start on Saturday, stopping the Sounders will certainly be the sternest test yet for the rookie.

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“Our comments to [London] right now are that he’s doing a really good job defensively, but offensively he’s still learning the speed of the game and how good these players are that he’s playing against,” Schellas Hyndman said after Thursday’s practice. “He had a couple passes the other day in the middle that got intercepted and Seattle’s a team that really lives off that so we’ll keep talking about it.”

It may not be CenturyLink Field, but you don’t play four years of ACC soccer without playing in some rabid atmospheres, however, and Woodberry says he’s ready for the challenge ahead on Saturday night in the crucial Western Conference matchup.

“I feel like over the years playing in front of bigger crowds, once the whistle blows you drown them out,” said Woodberry. “Obviously it’s loud and can be difficult to communicate, but at the end of the day you’re out there playing soccer and the people are just spectators. It’s up to the 22 players on the field to get the job done.”