FRISCO, Texas - FC Dallas got its first taste of 11v11 action this preseason with an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday morning at Toyota Soccer Center.
Dallas' preseason roster was split into two teams and played two 30-minute halves. The first chance of the game was created by Eddie Munjoma who burst into the box and struck the post with a left-footed shot. Franco Jara latched onto the rebound but his effort was cleared off the line by Johnny Nelson sweeping up. At the other end, Thomas Roberts forced a save from Kyle Zobeck who was quick to get up to smother Dante Sealy's rebound attempt. Munjoma again caused danger on the attacking side with a whipped cross that found Jadér Obrian but the Colombian's effort only found the side netting after cleverly cutting back onto his right foot.
The scrimmage's lone goal came in the second half after some tidy interplay between Ryan Hollingshead, Thomas Roberts and Kalil ElMedkhar, whose cross beat the first man and fell kindly to Nelson at the top of the six-yard box to smash home.
"It feels so good to be back with the boys," Nelson said afterwards. "Second week of preseason and we're doing double (sessions) days, so the hard work is going to pay off...This is go-time. Even if it's preseason, the coaches are looking for spots and everyone's fighting for a spot. So, getting a goal in preseason means everything to me."
It was also a first full scrimmage for new signings ElMedkhar, Obrian, José Martínez and Freddy Vargas. Although still early in their FCD careers, the quartet made good accounts of themselves and are starting to show what they can bring to Dallas once the MLS season gets underway next month.
"They're (integrating) well, on and off the field," Luchi Gonzalez said of his new players. "They're already creating bonds, you can see it. There's trust already. And then on the field, it's the same because they have quality and energy. You can see they're team oriented and fitting in quite well."
Overall, Luchi and his coaching staff were pleased with what they saw over the hour.
"I think it was positive," Luchi said in summary. "We saw some good moments from both groups, pressing each other and trying to win the ball together and up field. I thought they showed a lot of the things we trained over this week and a half, and I was glad to see it.
"It's just a step, you know. We're building, just like everyone else in the league. So, we're going to analyze it and see what we've got to keep working on. But we want to know that there's a clear base fundamentally for the guys, with and without the ball. As we progress, we can be more specific and demanding with formations and positions."