FRISCO - FC Dallas returned back to the training field on Saturday afternoon with a scrimmage on the books against SMU at the Toyota Soccer Center.
The afternoon gave Dallas a few different options to get a variety of players on the field while also maintaining their strong relationship with the only D-I program in the metroplex.
“It’s great because the connection that we have with the university, the coaches, the organization and the history is tremendous,” head coach Oscar Pareja said. “That is important that we keep that connection all the time. Exercises like this help them and us too, especially for the ones who have not had activity in the last couple days.”
The bulk of the group that played on Wednesday night in Panama went right back to work in the first of three, 30-minute periods on the day. It was a quick re-introduction to the week-long lead up before Leg Two while continuing to get the group minutes together to build the on-field chemistry.
The only changes from the CCL match were Ryan Hollinghsead in place of Anton Nedyalkov at left back and Jacori Hayes in place of Carlos Gruezo in the middle. Both players were present at the scrimmage taking in the action from the sideline, along with Kellyn Acosta who underwent sports hernia surgery on Thursday.
FCD returning to training today with a little scrimmage against SMU. Three 30-min periods, almost same group from Wednesday starting off for the opening half hour. pic.twitter.com/9jJYEnsI44— Carter Baum (@CarterBaum) February 24, 2018
“That the whole purpose with them, trying to get them going,” Pareja said of the starting group. “We had a long trip back from Panama and there has been a lot of rain and the weather hasn’t helped much, so having them in activity today right away was great. It was a bonus for us.”
It was also a chance to see two good friends from the 2016 U-18 Academy National Championship team going head-to-head on the same side of the field with Reggie Cannon playing right back for FCD while Academy-product and SMU sophomore defender Eddie Munjoma starting at left back for the Mustangs.
“That was a highlight for me to see them [competing against one another],” Pareja said. “It’s beautiful just to see how the game provide different opportunities for them. It’s beautiful o see that they have been dedicating that much time to the game and now Reggie is playing and Eddie, who has a great future, is playing for the best college in the town. It’s great.”
Dallas played the second two frames with different looks for some of the players that haven’t seen game action since the team’s preseason trip to Arizona.
SMU’s captain last season and recent Homegrown signing Jordan Cano started second period at center back, but some lingering tightness in his leg cut his afternoon short after an early collision for precautionary reasons. Ema Twumasi came on in relief and FCD moved to a 3-5-2 look with the first-round pick playing almost wing back role in the midfield on the right side.
Amer Sasivarevic and Kris Reaves flanked Maynor Figueroa on the back line with Roland Lamah playing opposite Twumasi. Paxton Pomykal played in the No. 10 role with Hayes and Brandon Servania behind him and Tesho Akindele and Cristian Colman getting some time up top.
For the third and final half hour, Dallas moved to a 3-4-3 formation with Francis Atuahene and Jesus Ferreira joining Akindele up top. Hayes subbed out after 60 minutes and Pomykal dropped back into a defensive midfield role to compensate for the extra forward.
Dallas lone goal over the 90 minutes came from Atuahene putting a ball away at the far post in the box for his third goal in almost 120 minutes combined over four matches this spring.
Over the final 15 minutes, Adonijah Reid came on for Servania and took a role in the left midfield, moving Lamah in with Pomykal in the middle.