FRISCO, Texas — After returning from the Concacaf Gold Cup last week, FC Dallas defender Reggie Cannon was invited on to the United States of Soccer Show with SiriusXM FC's Jason Davis on Monday. Cannon reflected on his time at the Gold Cup, returning to FC Dallas last week and starting in the weekend's match against Minnesota United FC.
Here are some of the highlights of Cannon's interview with Davis.
On his overall Gold Cup experience:
“The experience was amazing. Getting called up on my 21st birthday was one of the best birthday presents I could ask for, and I kind of had to play with a chip on my shoulder because I was the last man called into the squad. I ended up playing my way into that starting 11, and Gregg had the utmost confidence in me. When he called me into the camp, he knew I could do the job, and I fulfilled my expectations for myself and I went out there and had fun. I didn’t put pressure on myself like other times, and it felt right when I was at camp.”
On if he had to change his style of play during the Gold Cup:
“Gregg’s tactics are definitely a lot different than FC Dallas’ tactics. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, it’s just very unique. Some complimented my game, and some hurt it. So. It was an adjustment moment for me. There was a lot more running for me if I’m being honest. Gregg’s tactics are we can either hurt the team with possession or we can go straight at them. There’s a lot of different tactics that he puts in the game that instills in my mind to play the game that he wants me to. Especially in those closing games against Jamaica and Mexico, he wanted me to be that guy bombing forward at the right times, and when Michael [Bradley] gets the ball, to run behind their back lines. So, they’re tactics are different from FC Dallas, but some of them definitely complimented my game as you guys could tell.”
On going forward and having more of an attacking mindset:
“It’s something you definitely have to find a balance for. At this point, it’s just an instinct for me, going forward. To go forward every time would be foolish for me. In this day, it’s the full back’s, the modern-day full back’s job to attack and join the attack and create numerical superiority. It’s also a numerical advantage saying you have to be on your toes for when the right time is to go, and that’s something that full backs grow into as they play the game. Something that I’ve added to my game is knowing when to go because bombing down the wing every time is a bit predictable, and you can get caught out very easily. It’s something that you have to find a balance for, and Gregg really helped me through that at camp. That’s something I’m definitely improving on with my game.”
On playing Mexico for the first time:
“It was a crazy experience. In that stadium, you can barely hear yourself think. It was unbelievable. That environment is what you live for as a soccer player — you love that kind of an environment as a soccer player. I think the excited part of me kind of jumped out. I was talking with Michael Bradley before the game, and he could tell that I was nervous, shaky. It was my first US-Mexico Derby, and it was the Gold Cup Final. It was a big moment. I told Michael I was so nervous. He told me that we’ve all been through this, and even though he’s 33 years old, he still gets nervous and gets butterflies. You just have to go for it. That was the last thing he told me before the game — just go for it. Don’t worry about the expectations, don’t worry about the people, just play, just have fun. I think that was the best piece of advice he could’ve given me. In that game, I wasn’t nervous. I stepped on that field, and I was just excited, I was happy, and I just went for it.”
On how difficult it was to shift from playing for the U.S. to FC Dallas
“It’s actually a very tough shift. Not only because the tactics are different, but the environment is totally different. You’re with the same guys for a whole month with a completely different environment and tactics, and you have to come back to FC Dallas and get right back on your horse to come back to MLS to try and make a difference. That’s a big thing that’s tough to do. People kind of underestimate how tough it is to make that transition, but Luchi has been integrating me into the team. We’re disappointed not to get the three points against Minnesota, but I feel my game improving a lot. That’s what’s important.”
On Gruezo's departure and its impact:
“Gruezo was a huge player for FC Dallas, especially in midfield. He’s a bulldog on everything, every duel he went up against. It’s obviously sad to lose a player like that, but he’s moving on to bigger and better things and we couldn’t be happier for him. The FC Dallas culture is there’s always someone who is going to step up. The club is bigger than any player. No player is bigger than the club. Whoever is going to step up in that position, which has been [Brandon] Servania, he’s been doing a great job, we’re always ready for that next man up. I think that really reflects the FC Dallas culture.”
On Homegrowns playing big minutes for FC Dallas:
“It’s a very unique situation. It’s something very unique to FC Dallas, but you also have to realize that you have to have a balance of veterans in there because if you throw in 11 Homegrowns on the field, especially very young Homegrowns, it’s going to be very tough for them to be in situations. I’m not saying they’re not capable of it, but it’s very impactful to have a veteran there who has seen situations and knows what to do to help these Homegrowns blossom. There is a huge pipeline of talent through FC Dallas right now. It’s just tough for all of them to get onto the field at once. You have to wait for your time, kind of, but I have the most confidence that FC Dallas is going to find the right balance of getting these Homegrowns and giving them decent playing time.”
You can listen to "United States of Soccer" with Jason Davis on SiriusXM channel 157 weekdays from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.