Last night, FC Dallas had one of their community practices, this time out at Railroad Soccer Complex in Lewisville, a huge brand new park. This place is so nice it has a little league baseball field with a roof, a skate park, a dog park, three man-made lakes and a big railroad car at the front of the complex. There's also what looks like a landfill about a half mile away.
I love these kinds of things because they provide a change of pace for the team, as well as doing the little things that will eventually pay off in giving FC Dallas a bigger footprint in the area. There was probably 150 or so people out there, all of them getting coupons for tickets to the game this weekend, t-shirts, stickers etc....A very cool free event on a beautiful night.
-The practice was mostly filled with scrimmaging on a pretty small field which forced the players to work on keeping the ball in smaller spaces. It's tough to get a huge read on players as the lack of space limits what the offensive players can do, but a few players shined in the practice.
-I was most impressed with Eric Avila last night. He seems to really be figuring out how to play behind David Ferreira(which he talks about in the quotes later). I thought Avila really struggled in the Philadelphia game he started behind Ferreira and was very unsure of how to play his position. However, Columbus was a very good game for him and he linked up well with David last night, once particularly where he spun a defender and played a nice ball to Ferreira who hit a cross-field pass to Jair for a nice goal. I bet Eric starts this weekend and has a good performance.
-Another solid practice for Brek, he is just playing at a different level than the rest of the young players. Much like people say the ball sounds differently when it's hit off the bat of Josh Hamilton, Shea just hits the ball differently and better than every other player. He's just right on the cusp of greatness.
More observations, an FC Dallas schedule change and exclusive quotes with Schellas, Eric Avila and Zach Loyd after the break...
-Granted it was a small field, but the starting back four is just so solid and knows exactly what each other are going to do. Interestingly enough, Jackson played with the starting back four last night at right back, so perhaps he moves into Pearce's position this weekend with Pearce moving to right mid in place of the suspended Atiba Harris.
-Marco Ferruzzi played at right back for the reserve team during the scrimmage and he's still got it.
-Victor Ulloa's long hair is gone. He was given a buzz-cut just like Luna, M. Hernandez and Leyva. I hate to see the Leonel Alvarez hair go, but it's nice to see the solidarity from the youngsters, even if it's forced.
-Marvin Chavez had the play of the night, stripping Jackson of the ball before curling a shot past Hartman from about 25 yards. An absolutely beautiful individual goal and no-doubt the kind of play that got him signed in the first place. If only he could do it consistently....
-Dax warmed up with the first team, but still on the sidelines rehabbing during the contact stuff. Steve Hunt as an update about Dax up on the FCD website. Ugo still not training, but he was out there and signed autographs. Everyone else looks healthy, Kyle Davies looked pretty strong in training last night.
-No trialists or Juniors were out last night, just the first team.
-I don't think this was announced anywhere(curiously), but the FC Dallas vs Colorado home finale has been moved from 3PM to 5PM on Saturday October 9th. I was reading an article about Colombia facing Ecuador on October 8th potentially leaving FC Dallas without their best player for the final home game when I noticed the change on the FCD Schedule page. If anyone saw a story where this was announced, feel free to post it.
First of all it was great for us to get a point and a result coming out of there. I think both locker rooms after the game felt like it was a game that either team could’ve won and I think that just goes to show you the level of play that was on the field. Two very successful teams combative from the first minute to the 90th plus. For us it was a little more than just a result, it was to continue…the unbeaten streak and set a record that right now we own. So I think it’s another positive thing for FC Dallas, but it was hard, very hard. Not too many teams get a result up in Columbus because they’re such a good team and hard to beat on their own field.
It looked like a playoff atmosphere and performance, comments on that.
I think you’re right, I think it was very hard to find open space. I think Brek Shea had a couple of very good opportunities and then Zach Loyd made a fantastic save off the line, you know these are key moments in the game and that’s what ends up happening when you get into these playoff games. It’s the key moments and the one play who makes a difference and both teams had opportunites to walk away with three points.
I think if we had scored first they would’ve fought their way back to tying the game and if they had scored first we would’ve fought back to tie the game so I think it was a pretty just result for two teams that are hoping to be in the playoffs
Talk about Zach’s performance, it was a little up and down but he really figured it out in the second half
First of all we do ratings of the players after every game and we had rated Zach as a good game, probably one of his better games and the reason we did that was because we’re on the road, we’re playing against a good team and all of a sudden you’re playing against Renteria who is one of the hardest players you’re going to play against physically. Not only does he take the physical punishments that most forwards take but he’s one of the few forwards that dishes out as much as he takes.
I agree with you, I think Zach really figured it out in the second half and he stopped trying to play him physical instead he tried to play him like a soccer player and wait for him make the turns, kick the ball out of bounds, try to win it off of him instead of getting too close to him where Renteria could use his body and his strengths to roll off of him. Again though the key moment in the game defending was the ball he saved off the line and if he doesn’t have the instinct to go save the ball off the line we’re probably talking about a defeat right now.
I thought Avila looked great tonight, and looking more and more comfortable playing behind Ferreira, talk about his progression a little bit
Avi’s been a player that when I came into the league it was the first time he played a couple of years ago. The thing he needs is more constant games so he’s getting minutes. It’s hard to build your confidence without minutes and it’s hard to come into a game, if you’re winning to be defensive and if youre losing to go attacking so you kind of go wherever the coach needs you to go for those minutes but I do think the Columbus game was one of his better performances…he almost won the game and he’s been a real thorn in the Crew’s side.
But at the same time, what we look for which is probably the hardest thing for the young players is consistency. If he can build his confidence and build a confidence with the coaches and teammates, I think that consistency will come just like how Brek Shea has been coming on.
Talk about your game last weekend and through the progression of the game against Renteria
At the beginning, I’ve never really matched up with a player as strong as Renteria. I’m a pretty aggressive style player so at the beginning I think I tried to use my strength more than thinking about it and I kept trying to basically be over aggressive because he’s too strong and I couldn’t get around him. First half he beat me a few times and then at halftime I talked to coach Schellas and he said "you need justto be more disciplined." Second half I came in with the yellow card so I just used my knowledge of the game and started backing off.
He’s a very good player, it was a very good match for me to try to go up against a player of that caliber. As the game went on, I just trusted my teammates and they coached me through.
Are you feeling more comfortable at center back?
Yeah, I’m fairly comfortable there. Last year in college that was where I played and it was the first time ever so I’m still kind of new to the position, but wherever my coach and teammates need me on the field is where I’m going to be
It seems you’re getting more comfortable playing behind David and with a few players out, you could get a start this weekend talk about that?
I mean I think it’s great, unfortunately my teammates are out so it’s time for someone to step up. I am getting more comfortable in the middle spot, I wasn’t playing there for awhile and now I’m getting into it. So I’m learning the roles between David and the defensive mid so hopefully I can start against Toronto and help out.
What kind of roles are those that you’re learning?
Well for me, I love to attack and the one problem I have is coming back and trying to get in to the center and defend. I’m getting a lot better at it and getting help from my teammates to come and track back. I’m learning the role, attack and defending and I’m trying to bring that into the game.