The gang's all here though returns are mixed on one of the new guys
A bit late on this, but better late than never.
On Friday night, FC Dallas held a friends and family night up at the stadium with an open practice session. It actually turned out to be a pretty significant session for many reasons which I'll note below. The team played a fairly long session of 9v9 with the trialist Michel scoring a very nice goal as well as a couple good pings from Andrew Jacobson and another one from Pipico.
Raul Fernandez is here - The Peruvian Raul Fernandez has arrived and very lightly practiced on Friday night. His arrival was expected and it's great to have him here. He's not a big goalkeeper, looking about to be 6'1"
Peter Luccin is here - This was the big surprise as Luccin was not expected until early next week. Schellas noted after practice that Luccin would go through tests on Saturday and then participate fully on Monday. It's important to get him here for a week in Frisco before the team takes off for Cancun where the real work begins.
Brek Shea is back - I think the biggest shock of the night was Brek Shea is back and basically training fully with the team. He was a neutral player on Friday, but Schellas said he'd be back fully on Saturday. What a huge surprise and great omen for the season as the initial timetable for his return was mid to late February. Given that he will have a full month of pre-season, that battle for the two wing spots is certainly on from the get-go this year.
Michel is showing well - It's looking more likely that Michel Garbini Pereira could be a backup outside back for the team this year. He looks to have MLS class in the little time I've seen, though the true tests will come when he faces off against other teams.
Panama is Gold Cup bound - This isn't exactly related to practice, but Panama defeated Guatemala yesterday with Blas Perez scoring the first goal on a nice header (turn down the sound). This means Blas will likely miss 5 or 6 games this summer on Gold Cup duty. Further accentuating the need for another forward because...
Early returns on Pipico very mixed - Pipico is going to be a very interesting study this year because there is obvious class there. In the 9v9s I've seen so far, he's a real fox in the box. He doesn't move very well, but when you give him any space with the ball he hits it in the back of the net. That's the good news.
The bad news, is he's absolutely behind most of the team in terms of physical shape. He's got a lot of work to do to be 90 minutes MLS fit and I don't see how he's the starting forward on opening day with Blas Perez suspended. This is what Schellas had to say on Pipico.
One of the reasons we liked Pipico is we felt like he was a good finisher. It’s an adjustment to the speed of play because this isn’t brazil and it’s not 110 degrees out there, it’s a pretty athletic league. One area that’s not helping him to that adjustment is the fitness level. The culture in Brazil is when the season is done, you’re done. You’re going to the beach, you’re relaxing, you’re recovering and then they all start pre-season the same. Here everybody’s starting four weeks ago getting fit so he’s behind.