On one of the brightest days known to mankind this morning, FC Dallas trained on the Dr. Pink turf field this morning in their final Frisco practice before leaving for the Pacific Northwest tomorrow. With the FCD reserves returning from their 3-0 win at RSL last late night, it was quite a small practice with mainly 6v6 games going on. While this isn't ideal, it does give players ability to get a lot of touches on the ball and really work through a few things. A few notes, observations and then quotes.
Injury Updates As 3rd Degree reported earlier today, Andrew Jacobson is not traveling to Vancouver. It doesn't seem like he has any major problems, just a little strain that you don't want to make worse by playing on the BC Place turf. Bobby Warshaw figures to start in his place and more on that later.
Hernan Pertuz did not train today, but I don't think he's a serious injury worry though it wouldn't shock me to see him start on the bench Saturday evening with Jair returning to his spot at left back. Leyva trained on the side while most of the players who played in the reserve match did not train, though a few were out there doing some fitness work.
Practice rundown The entire practice was based mainly around small sided games with different rules. The first game had a forward on either side, mainly Perez and Shea, who were not allowed to go outside of a box of cones while wingers who were not allowed to shoot on goal. After that there was a 6v6 game capped off by some work where the central midfielders would combine before swinging the ball out to the wings working on outside backs and attacking wingers combining. It was a very crisp practice and the crossing at the end was top notch.
Some observations & quotes after the jump
Warshaw Ready To Go Was impressed with the game Bobby Warshaw played on Saturday and he looked good in practice today. I think one of the bigger complements you can pay to the guy is that he simply doesn't do things that get you beat very often. You watch him in practice and he doesn't have sloppy turnovers. In the games, and Schellas will talk about this, he makes the simple plays that allows Dallas to continue moving forward. He needs to develop some more polish to his game to become a true starting quality MLS midfielder, but he's shaken off a little bit of a late pre-season slump to be a major contributor.
Brek Shea Is In Form You know Brek is hitting his stride when he makes your jaw drop about three or four times a practice with a special volley or rip from long range. It certainly happened today a couple of times. It seems like in practice, Brek can play simply without thinking and it works, but in the games sometimes he tries to do too much or think too much. I'm looking for special things from him in the coming weeks.
What Happens This Weekend? Given the small-sided nature to the practice, it's tough to take much from it to see if they'll go 4-5-1 or 4-4-2. If it's 4-5-1, you'll probably see Guarda get the start with Warshaw and Hernandez in midfield, but I think the more likely option is moving Rodriguez out to right midfield and Jair at left back. We all know the offensive struggles a central midfield pairing of Warshaw and Daniel Hernandez brings, but on the road, I think it's the most successful option.
Two late wins in the past couple of weeks, are we seeing the fight we saw from the team in 2010 that maybe they just didn't have the legs for towards the end of last season?
I think it's been a thing that we kind of establish in our standards for character of our players. People that know me know that there's certain ways I want things and we're not going to win all the games as everyone wants us to, but what we want to be able to do is fight until the end in all the games. I think it's interesting because we're scoring a lot of goals on set pieces whether it's throw in's, free kicks, corner kicks and I think we've now put ourselves with this group, the new group, into a mentality of if you believe it you can achieve it.
I don't want to get you in trouble with the league but you had to be frustrated with the one penalty called for Montreal and a similar penalty, with much more contact, ignored on Saturday
I'm not in the middle of the heat anymore and I'm obviously biased but the calls have got to be a little more consistent and I think they're working towards that. You're starting to see suspensions coming back for players which I think is a good thing to protect the players who are getting fouled and I would imagine there are going to be suspensions to not only the players but the officiating if the job isn't done.
Speaking of that, what are your feelings on MLS' new policy of retroactive suspensions, upgrading yellow cards to red cards..
It makes our job a little bit tougher, I mean we went through a situation where Jair got a suspension and we turned around and played a pretty quick, he's right in the middle of training and then all of a sudden, boom he's pulled out, you can't play the next game.
But I think it's still the right thing to do. I think in the past, the league has really taken a stance of protecting players, but there wasn't enough bite into it. It's a great stance, it's the American culture of freedom for all, but sometimes there isn't freedom for all. So you have to take a little bit of bite to it and I'm only one voice, one coach, that says if my player is doing something wrong and if you want to suspend him, I'm going to look at the video and probably say OK. But I want to make sure you're going to suspend the other players on the other teams too.
Talking about Jair, the left back situation is interesting because you've said you want to get guys back to their natural positions, that's Carlos Rodriguez's natural position battling with Jair who has been the starter for 2 1/2 years. Talk about the battle that might be going on in the next few months at left back.
It's going to be competitive. Jair is a player that got us to the MLS Cup and I think every coach will tell you that you need team chemistry and you need team competition. You want that team competition but you don't want to lose team chemistry over it so you have to manage it in the right manner.
Part 2 coming soon...