Finally a Wednesday where it wasn't pouring down rain...Made it out to FCD practice today in advance of their biggest game of the last decade coming up Sunday at Los Angeles. Lots of media there today, including the entire FCD media machine.
The bulk of practice today was spent focusing on attacking down the wings and defending crosses. LA's obvious strength is in the air with Buddle, Gonzalez and company so this isn't too surprising. Practices during playoff time are pretty tough to make exciting.
The intensity is high, but not physical while Schellas knows better than to give anything away tactically. By this point, the starters and big minute guys off the bench are focused on staying healthy and ready for the weekend while the reserves are serving as the scout team(to use a football term) to help prepare for LA.
-Daniel Hernandez didn't participate fully in practice today. He spent most of the time working on the side and riding a bike. A bit disconcerting, but does anyone really think he won't be starting come Sunday evening?
-Davies, Pearce and Edward on the sidelines for practice as well. Nothing new here, though I'm being told that Pearce is a maybe for a potential MLS Cup.
-Dax is playing as well as I've seen him play. As the second longest tenured player on the roster behind Dario Sala, it's not surprising to see Dax step up when the team needs him most. He hit a screamer of a goal today from well over 20 yards out past Hartman(!). Lots of good quotes from Dax later.
Jump for more notes and quotes from Schellas, Dax, and Chavez...
-Schellas isn't giving much away on who starts down the right side on Sunday. Jackson just isn't 100% and I thought Loyd would be starting last Saturday, so it's anyone's guess. All signs point to Atiba starting on the right wing as he's pretty much started every available game this season. What great depth to be able to bring guys like Marvin Chavez and Zach Loyd into the game. You've got to think FCD will start Atiba and look to weather the storm in the first half before unleashing the Honduran in the second half.
....In an unbelievably frustrating development, I just pulled out my phone recorder and it says it has recorded 0s of stuff this morning when I recorded 30 minutes of interviews. There was a few media out there today so hopefully some of the stuff shows up from other outlets.
Marvin Chavez said he's really enjoying his soccer in Dallas right now. He mentioned that this is the most closely knit team he's ever been a part of and that whether he starts or comes off the bench on Sunday he's looking to help the team however he can.
I asked Dax McCarty the same question I posed to Dario a few weeks ago about comparing this team to the 2006 team and Dax agreed that the '06 team may have been more talented but there's no question that this, as a whole, is a better team. He says he's learned a lot and understands just how important team unity is and how you have to fight for one another.
I asked him if Schellas had told him to get forward more in the Salt Lake game and he said that he really just looks for his spots to go ahead of Ferreira and it helps to have Daniel Hernandez behind him. Dax was very complementary of Juninho of Los Angeles and said they are similar players who look to attack the box late and play end to end. He said that generally when LA plays well Juninho plays well and it's very important to stop him on Sunday.
Lots of scattershooting stuff with Schellas and hopefully his quotes end up somewhere else
Who do you think should start down the right side on Sunday night?