Good morning to all on a frosty Thursday. We're just a little over 48 hours from FC Dallas taking the field for the first time in 2011 to face Houston down in Corpus Christi. I'm heading down south tomorrow morning for the match so stay tuned to the blog this weekend for coverage.
Leading us off today is a non-soccer related story but an important one. Carter BloodCare is extremely short on donations around the metroplex due to the icy weather and needs your help badly. If you're not too bothered by giving blood, please go to one of the donation centers and help out.
Ok, on to the soccer...The biggest story of the day is the release of the MLS schedule later this afternoon just 5 weeks before the season is scheduled to begin. This is the latest I can ever remember the schedule coming out and ticket reps all across the league must have been pulling their hair out on this one.
Kenny Cooper is scheduled to be introduced to the media in Portland today. I'm still dreading his return to Frisco.
Before they resume training Friday, the Timbers will introduce Kenny Cooper Thursday. Cooper, 26, comes to the Timbers after playing two underwhelming and injury-plagued seasons for TSV 1860 Munich, a second-division team in Germany. The Timbers hope Cooper can replicate his four seasons with FC Dallas, where he scored 40 goals in 90 games.
Todd Date of 3rd Degreehas some practice notes from Tuesday's training including Schellas calling for one of the youngsters to step his game up
Hyndman made no bones about expecting more from the team’s first Homegrown player, young midfielder Bryan Leyva.
“He’s playing his best right now. Last year when we brought him in, I thought he had a very good preseason. Then, he hit a wall and just kind of disappeared. I think that’s part youth, part immaturity and that’s part of a blasé attitude of where I’m not playing so it doesn’t matter what I do. So we had some strong conversations with him saying Brian, you have a lot of ability but ability is what got you here. What keeps you here is your character, hard work, determination and improvement."
The official FCD practice report from Jason Minnick notes that Jonathon Top impressed in his first official training with the team
Top did not disappoint. Running east-to-west along the last defender, he sped past an opponent to catch up to a through ball from Ferreira. With his first touch, Top hit a shot, low to the far post that just got under the body of Hartman. The goal was simple but impressive. Top’s shot seemed to come quicker than expected. He needed almost no time to set his feet before striking the ball.
Schellas Hyndman talks about Ricardo Villar and his role on the team in 2011.
“He can play a lot of different positions,” Hyndman said. “He can play central midfield, attacking midfield, left or right side midfield. He’s more of a versatile player that can move around. We wanted to have somebody [who] can relieve some of that pressure that [Ferreira’s] going to receive.”
And finally the gaffer discusses trialist Bruno Martins and what he can bring to this team...look out Bruno Guarda, you had better step up your game or you'll be out of a job.
"Barry came back to me and said, 'I know we’re not looking for another central midfielder but this might be a player you might want to consider,'" said Hyndman, who admitted the club was initially scouting forwards. “So we made the decision to bring him. It’s the protection of Daniel Hernandez or if we need some more help in the center.”
Back later with the full MLS schedule!