FRISCO, Texas – This week FC Dallas began small group training, the second of three phases in MLS’ return to practice protocol. The group work started on Monday at Toyota Soccer Center after three weeks of individual workouts at the facility.
“It was great to be able to work in groups,” said head coach Luchi Gonzalez. “The players were able to move the ball together, combine, read each other’s movements, synchronize and work on timing and angles. Those are really important things that are going to be closer to the real game for us. We’re just learning. This was day one and we want to make some adjustments for day two tomorrow.”
So far, the group sessions consist largely of various pass and move drills sandwiched by fitness training before and after. The social distancing precautions are somewhat more relaxed than previous weeks with players practicing in groups of six and spread over three training fields. But of course, everything is still non-contact.
“It’s a logical progression while obviously prioritizing safety with distancing and no contact still,” Luchi continued. “I’m confident it will progress to the right safe, full team training with the testing and precautions to minimize contamination. It’s a good logical progression and it’ll help us to be as game-ready as possible.”
With MLS’ Orlando tournament on the horizon, achieving game-readiness is the clear objective right now. Every team’s physical and mental conditioning will be pushed to the limits, so this preparation period is an important time to get ahead.
“I think the team that gets fit the fastest is going to be the team that makes the biggest splash in that tournament and have the longest run,” said left back Ryan Hollingshead. “A lot of it is going to come down to fitness so pushing hard in these weeks now is going to benefit us a lot in the long run. The guys are bought in and excited about what we have ahead of us and ready to get back on the field.”