FC Dallas leaves for Orlando today to compete in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic, but I was able to catch up with a bunch of guys post-game yesterday. Lots of great stuff in here.
Overall thoughts on the game
I thought both teams had a little bit of trouble with getting a hold of the ball and getting a rhythm into place and then I think there was two good goals on the headballs. The PK called, I thought Kevin did a great job with that. I thought our line was a little bit high, we didn’t put pressure on the ball and then Brek got the breakaway and deservedly scored the goal.
As I said to the players, I don’t know if I’m more hurt by the fact that we lost or the fact that we didn’t score being up two men because basically they couldn’t do anything, we had them locked in, and I thought either the last pass wasn’t good enough or the service wasn’t good enough or the finish wasn’t good enough.
All in all we got a lot of people on the field, we were able to play everyone and a couple of our trialists, at the end of the day this is not a season game but you always have to be careful that this doesn’t add onto the mentality or a negative mentality.
First time you’ve played the starters more than 45 minutes, happy to start getting the fitness levels up?
Yeah, we’ve been working awfully hard, both our central midfielders needed to come off, they had heavy legs and they were playing a 4-3-3 which made it even harder for us. I think the bright spot was getting David Ferreira on the field. We had planned to play him 10-15 minutes and he wanted to go back and play in the second half so we gave him another 10 minutes in the second half.
I think you probably saw the same thing I saw that once he got on the field there seemed to be a little bit of possession, a little bit of purpose in the game and we got away from just trying to break them down with one pass, a through ball or a long ball or an individual play.
Excited to see that long ball from David to Fabian?
Yeah, I think you can also see the coordination between Blas and David all of a sudden, Blas is trying figure out how to play with David, so we’re behind in our pre-season, we’ve had a lot of people we’re looking at, we lost some very good players and we’re trying to put Pertuz out there straight away depending on what happens with George[John], and then we still feel like we’re in a position to sign three more players. Some of them are on this field with us and then hopefully someone from the outside.
How’s the communication between Pertuz and Ugo right now?
It’s tough, Pertuz is great, Pertuz is great, I think he’s a very good player. A young player but I think he’s a really good player, he captained the U20 team from Colombia, he’s played a couple years with MEdeillin and he’s a solid player.
One of the things you always have to have in your defense is communication and he probably says a total of five words and those are words like Up, my ball, yes, no, so the communication is not very good but soccer is such a wonderful game because it’s an international game and international communication. At times I don’t think we would be as flat as we are if we were just a little bit better in that communication.
How did you think Daniel looked?
It’s fine, he’s still banged up a bit. He just had his knee drained yesterday. He hurt himself against SMU and I think the doctor basically just think it was scar tissue that came off. It’s basically a swollen knee so he’s been doing knee tests.
He really came out with heavy legs but I think he was alright. I just think, in the center midfield, he and AJ, it was better when David was there, but neither of them are really offensive minded players. I think Daniel is more of the holding midfielder and AJ is more of the linking kind so you need someone in the attack.
So that could be a second striker, or David or someone like that, but you can see the concerns in a 4-4-2 because we don’t have that speed, athleticisim and coordination yet.
You had Carlos Rodriguez and Jair on the left, what did you think of their partnership, a good option when Brek is gone?
Yeah, I think so. We played him there once before but he’s not an attacking player, he’s a defender. So sometimes when you get a defender into a flank position, they get perfect balls and perfect situation but the ball doesn’t go where it should go, that’s not what they do. They’re basically playing on the other side of the ball and then their passes are pretty simple, quick balls onto the flank or long balls…but so that’s a little bit difficult for him.
I thought the positive side to it was that he works awfully hard, he follows the team structure, the demands that we put on him in the first half in the pregame speech and I also said both of you can play fullback so at any point in time interchange positions and overlap and don’t worry about that guy going back so I thought that was a real positive.
Scott Sealy wasn’t here today is he still in the picture?
Scott’s been here for about a month now and he asked if he could go home and see his family since we’re getting ready to go to Disney and I know that we have a game today but for me I know it’s not as important for him to be here as it is for him to be with his family and then join us in Orlando.
Did you enjoy watching Zach and Brek battle out there?
Yeah they’re both headbangers and they had some good battles. I was surprised that they were going at each other as hard as they did considering they were teammates but again they’re both want to compete.
Did you see any difference in Zach, maybe his technical side is a little better coming back from the national team?
I think working with the national team has made a lot of difference with him. I think the technical thing is things he does every day in training. He’s one of the guys that will stay after and work on service or first time passes or passes into small goals so he’s work a lot better.
If you remember last year, when he made a cross he had an idea of where it was going, but it very seldom went where he thought it was going. It went to the corner flag to their defender or right to the keeper or over the gaol. I think he’s getting a lot better at it and he’s working on it.
I think one of the things, when you do a lot of individual work when you get on the field you end up doing a little bit too much with the ball. I think there’s times where he could just pass the ball rather than getting two or three touches and trying to beat a guy, especially when you’re back in those positions. I think he just now needs to understand, the different thirds of the field you have to think differently.
You had Blas Perez play 90 minutes today is he starting to shake the rust off?
Yeah, you know I think what you saw today, especially during the last 15 or 20 minutes where they were down two men and they played two blocks of four and basically wouldn’t let you in and try to stay structured, I thought Blas really held the ball well in such tight quarters.
I think that’s what weve been missing, a forward that cal hold the ball well and bring teammates in, and then today I didn’t think his finishing was very good but we’ve seen him in training and that’s probably his strength. Once he gets where he wants to be, when he’s in form, I think he’ll be at his best.
And you’ve got to be interested in seeing how he does against MLS forwards rather than college guys..
We did play New York where he played a half and didn’t get a goal. I think the big thing coming up now is my final statement to the boys was I don’t know what hurts more, the loss or that we didn’t score with them being down two men and I think the other point I said was, I think this is an opportunity to continue to get better and that’s what we’re working on.
Quick thoughts on the game
It was fun playing against my friends and teammates, I got a little rough out there, you know how when you play against friends you like to battle. Probably battled a little too much today.
Going up against Zach Loyd it seemed like ya’ll were battling all game
Yeah, I think Zach likes to battle, you can see by the way he plays he’s a very good battler and doesn’t like to get beat. I don’t think he gets beat often and I don’t like to get stopped so I think it was a good matchup.
You got a goal on Kevin Hartman today, will you let him hear about it when you get back to the FCD locker room?
Nah, not really. I just got a good ball saw the opening, Freddy just played me in and there wasn’t much Kevin could do.
I saw you tweeting about staying in a hotel in Dallas that’s got to be weird
*laughs* yeah it’s weird staying in a hotel in the city I’ve been living in the past couple of years but it’s alright.
Take us through the PK save
I think we had another PK in the last week where somebody took it left footed and they approached it similar and they went right and I didn’t get it, he actually went to the other side so today I just kind of stuck with what I believed was the answer and fortunately I was able to get a hand to it and then have a follow up save and then the guys came back and saved us.
It was a great game for us, we’re building in a good direction. I think that we’re really looking forward to this Orlando trip to really finalize what type of formation we play and get guys really up to speed, more and more minutes so that we can have concentration for 90 minutes
How is Hernan Pertuz gelling with Ugo in the middle?
He’s doing very very good job, I think that he’s able to communicate well with Jair when we have him at the left portion of the field, that’s very beneficial. You can tell he demands a lot out of the guys around him which is good, I think sometimes we let people get away with a lot and I think he does a good job with demanding a lot out of the defenders and the midfielders.
The team is getting better, we’re still not 100% but we still have some games to play to get our match fitness.
How did it feel to finally get back out there?
Happy, content really excited. It was great to get out there on the field of play and get going.
Are you looking to get more minutes on this upcoming trip?
I have hope of playing a lot more minutes in Orlando, we’ll see what happens and what the coach says.
Today was your first full 90 minutes with the team how are you feeling?
I feel good, I’m a little bit tired but I’m trying to do everything well. I had a couple opportunities to score, one was forced but you know this happens.
In the past you’ve played against college kids and now it’s time to play against MLS guys
There’s a big difference, the level is different. It’s more intense with the type of players we’re going to play against in our league. We try to raise our level too and try to raise our game physically to match up.
How close are you to being fit now?
I was more around 50% when I came but now I’m about 90 or 95%. I have about 15 more days until I’ll be 100% ready to go.
You’ve been in Dallas for a month now how are you liking the city?
It’s very pretty, I’ve been here before twice with two different teams. I’m planning on moving here and living here the whole year. It’s a pretty city that’s growing, that’s what I like about it. There’s lots of Panamanians here, lots of beautiful neighborhoods and I like it here.
I know you’re a big basketball fan have you had an opportunity to catch a Mavs game yet?
I love basketball, I haven’t had the chance to see the Mavs yet but I’m planning on going soon. I grew up playing basketball and my team I was on growing up was the Bulls so I’ve always been a big Michael Jordan fan and now it’s’ Derrick Rose
What’s the deal with checking in on foursquare?
It’s a social network, I check in all the time here[at FC Dallas Stadium]. I want the fans to know where I’m at so it posts to Facebook and Twitter. I’m always checking in from the hotel to here and back to the hotel.
So you’ll be the mayor of FC Dallas Stadium soon?
Yes, I’ll be the mayor here and at Comfort Suites[where he’s staying] and at my home in Panama.