Made it out to practice for the first time today as media...it's weird being on the opposite side of things after interning with the team in 2008.
I picked a good day to go as it was cloudy most of the day and I didn't sweat until about 10:30 which is really saying something for anyone who's been to a summer morning practice.
If you had been following the live twitter updates at www.twitter.com/bigdsoccer you'd already know these, but a few notes:
-Dax and Kyle Davies were working on the side today...doesn't look like Dax will play on Saturday. Maybe make the bench, but there's still pain when he kicks a ball.
-Danny Torres is here, working for Michael Johnson fitness...more to come on that in the quotes
More notes, quotes and video from practice after the jump
-Pretty much everyone is there except for the injured players. Leyva is back while Jonathan Top and Richard(Sanchez?), forward and goalie from the U16 Juniors are out here training with the first team. Richard is huge with good reflexes while Top is still pretty raw and is no Ruben Luna but has tons of talent and lots of time to mature. Brian Leyva looks to be in very good form, making a great move once to turn George John. Probably not near making the field at this point in the season, but could be seen late in the year depending on how important the games are.
-When I got there, it was an 11v11 scrimmage with what looked to be starters vs reserves...Luna was interestingly with the starters while forward Jason Yeisley was playing at center back with the Reserves. Reserves win the game...
-After the scrimmage, it was 3v2 attacking on one half and finishing practice on the other. It was great to get a look at Ruben Luna getting on the end of crosses. His heading ability has greatly improved...while he still misses probably one out of every three crosses, the other two are in the back of the net. This kid is a pure goal scorer...need to get him on the field ASAP.
-One half of the forwards served in crosses to the other half and unsurprisingly, Milton Rodriguez was sending in the best crosses.
-There's a trialist Brazilian forward named Flavio Diaz(Possibly this guy?) at training. A fairly short and stocky forward...it's tough to get a read on the guy in his second practice with the team. Quote from Schellas on him below..
-FC Dallas has a new media relations person at practice named Jason Minnick who came from the USL. Very nice guy who knows his soccer...check out his practice reports on the FC Dallas main website.
-Not a whole lot else, there's little nuggets that I'll leave on the Twitter page.
How is Ugo?
Ugo’s getting another test today so we’ll have a better idea after today where he is. Obviously, with time there’s some good improvements but it’s a very delicate and dangerous situation so we want to make sure we’re making right decisions.
Where do you see Jackson fitting in?
I think he’s more of a natural right back but he can play on the flanks either side right or left. We’ll get a chance to look at him more in the center but when we’re doing our possession games he does a really good job on all aspects.
How about Flavio(trialist)?
Flavio’s fine, today was a better day for him. The weather was better for him, coming from Brazil where it’s their winter it was a pretty big shock yesterday. He’s more for the future, for January and beyond.
Talk about the juniors Jonathan Top and Richard(I believe his last name is Sanchez…goalie from the juniors)
What we’re trying to do in our FC Dallas way is to bring our Academy players into our training for a week. That way we can keep an eye on them and see how they are compared to the other players. And also I think it’s a great motivation for them.
How do you look at this streak going on?(10 games unbeaten)
It’s fantastic, the nice thing about the streak is it gives you another motivation…Will that streak be changed after this game? Yes, hopefully in a positive way…It’s not something where it’s a goal, we didn’t start the season off saying we want to get this many wins in a row. Our goal is to get into the playoffs, that’s still our goal.
Talk about what you think might be the difference with Chivas in getting things turned around.
Well I think it’s two things, one is a new coach getting his standards in and his structure of play and not everyone buying in, now everyone is buying in. I think the second thing is the changing of personnel. Immediately (Zach) Thornton is back in goal and I think he’s a very good goalkeeper so I think that brings more team confidence and understanding. Bornstein’s back from the World Cup, they lost Sacha(Kljestian) but now they brought in (Paulo) Nagamura back. So their team is much different from the last time we played them. They also realize they have to take a step forward if they want to get into the playoffs.
We saw Danny Torres here what’s he doing?
Danny Torres was a player who played many years in the league and last year he had a chronic hamstring injury and spent a lot of time with Michael Johnson Training Center. He fell in love with the idea of having the ability to help soccer players the way Michael Johnson helped him. So his career now is to be a physical trainer and stay in the professional game. There were teams in Costa Rica that wanted him but he chose not to do that because it would have just been an extension of a year or two. Instead he wanted to start his new career in soccer.
How close is Ruben(Luna) to getting on the field?
We were able to sign him which is something we wanted to do earlier, but it all worked out. I think he is a very good natural finisher and that’s hard to find. What he needs is more games, it’s hard to go from the Academy team straight into being a professional. I’m hoping that we have an opportunity to give him some chances. Right now we’re looking at a very good Jeff Cunningham coming back and starting to get his goals and confidence. We’ve also got Milton here and since we’re playing in a 4-1-4-1 it’s hard to put another striker on that field. I still think there’s a place for him on the field, if we had signed him in February, I think he would be playing by now, but now that he just signed it’s a little bit more of a delay.
Good improvement, but still not there. It’s a month and I don’t think it’s abnormal for a quad pull go to 6-8 weeks and he brought it back three days later and I think that didn’t help.
Click below to get the raw file of quotes with bonus quotes about Chivas, Supporter's Shield, Jeff Cunningham, Heath Pearce's mustache and more...
There's also a couple of videos from practice on my Qik page