Man it felt nice to finally get out to training this morning. It seems like every day that I've planned on making it out there snow and ice just started falling from the sky. It was a pretty full practice today. For the first half of practice, the team worked on crosses, through balls and headers with a drill where one would play a through ball then move to the cross position then head a cross. After that it was 7 v 7 two touch, fast paced games.
Not much in terms of media out at practice today which is pretty surprising given yesterday's events. I guess this also explains why the practice field was almost completely empty within ten minutes of practice being over....Barca-Arsenal may have had a little bit to do with it as well.
Notes and observations
-Almost everyone has returned to full practice. Aside from the usual suspects of Davies, Edward and Ugo on the sidelines with their long-term injuries, it was just Craig Hill, Charlie Campbell and Jon Top rehabbing on the sidelines. Top had been called in for a US U-18 camp that was to run from Feb. 12 thru 20th but apparently picked up an ankle injury and was sent home. Loyd, John, Hernandez and everyone else with the little injuries trained fully today. Great news and it'll be interesting to see which guys get time in the SMU game on Friday.
-Warshaw is by far the most vocal of the rookies. This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone given his captaincy at Stanford, but Warshaw just has the look of a guy who knows he belongs here. Some of the other rookies are a bit tentative at times and afraid to make a mistake, but Warshaw definitely looks the part.
Keep reading for more observations and Schellas on the trade, Avila and more
-The rise of play in Andrew Wiedeman may have played a part in the Pearce trade. I know I've been beating this drum for a little while but I see something in this guy that just wasn't there last year. He was Dallas' most impressive player in the Dynamo friendly and he looked great again in practice today. He cracked one great goal in the 7v7 game and just looks more confident and composed on the ball.
The fact that he's now making videos with FCD and showing his personality more proves that he's getting much more comfortable in Frisco. Schellas talks in the quotes about how FCD will be losing some offense from the wings that Pearce provided and I think Wiedeman, in a year's time, could fill this gap. I'll have a feature article up on this in the next day or two with quotes from Schellas and Wiedeman.
-Homegrown kids are looking good as well. Ulloa hit two good crosses and scored both times I saw him in the first drill. He seems to be talking a bit more and just getting more comfortable overall while Hernandez, Luna and Leyva look solid as well.
-The starters are still in first gear. It's tough to take much from the veterans and starters on the team through these practices as they're still ramping things up. With two trips on the horizon to Orlando and Arizona, I think these guys know that right now it's just not time to get into high intensity training as right now is about getting the youngsters more comfortable in the system. Avila looks great.
Just Schellas today...I talked to Wiedeman also, but I'm using that for a story coming later.
Does the Heath Pearce trade allow you to be able to go after a forward now that maybe you would have had to wait until the summer for otherwise?
Absolutely, everything you said is correct. Heath Pearce was a very important part of this team. The success that we had last year was a player like Heath Pearce, Atiba Harris, Dax McCarty. To keep a Marvin Chavez or David Ferreira it was very difficult for us because what ended up happening was they are more expensive this year. So the whole idea of moving Heath was that we felt we can address our needs better.
When you send your technical director out to find a striker, but he goes out with no availability of acquiring the striker, he doesn't have the money to bring in a player he comes back not very successful. So what we are able to do now is give him a little bit more resources to go out and identify the striker and then try to make a deal to bring in the striker or another player that interests us.
With the loss of Pearce and his assists/service on the wing will you impress on Jackson and Loyd the idea of getting forward?
I don't think we have to impress Jackson too much to do that, he does that already. I think if we ask Zach to do that, he'll do everything we ask him to do but I don't know if he'll have the serving ability or the experience to make the right decisions where Heath definitely did.
You know this was a really good team for a player like Heath to be on because we are so attack oriented on the flanks from the fullbacks. I think there's no doubt that's one of the major things Chivas wanted was some major attack on that side.
In the Houston Dynamo game, Eric Avila was played in the middle and struggled a bit while he was played on the right side in the Houston Baptist game and was much better, do you feel like Avila belongs in the middle or the outside?
I think today he's probably better on the outside because a lot of things are happening in the middle that he's still having trouble adjusting to. This is not a knock on Eric Avila, but what we're asking him to do[in the middle] he may not be able to do. What we're asking hiim to do is be a box to box center midfielder.
I think if he comes back and defends, he stays back and defends while if he goes in the attack he stays in the attack so he doesn't go back and forth and that leaves a big hole for us. As a flank player, I think the job is a bit easier and he's found more success there but that doesn't mean weve shut that idea down in the center it just means he needs to embrace the role and then perform.
On roster makeup and how the rookies are doing
What we like to do is get into a more balanced situation with our roster, so if we have four starters we like to have four backups, two center backs, a right back and a left back then if we have a striker we like to have a backup for the striker....the guys who have done a pretty good job for us, Alexis Pradie, I think he's done well for us.
I think the other center back has been Scott Gordon who has been playing quite a bit and it's a wonderful opportunity[for them] because we have so many opportunities with injuries....The thing we like also, more importantly, is our homegrown players and how well they're doing. Victor, Ruben, Brian Leyva and Moises have all really stepped up a bit and I've enjoyed watching that happen.
On Maykel Galindo
Maykel is doing really quite well, I think the thing that's holding him back is fitness level and he's aware of it and working on it. I think he also understands this is a wonderful opportunity for him to get back into the league, last year he was with Chivas and they loaned him out to Tampa Bay.
So we're in a situation where we think we'll have a much better idea on where he is with the team when we get back from Florida.
Are there plans for trialists to be meeting you in Florida?
There is and Barry Gorman has that information but when we go to Florida there will be two or three players that will meet us and we can evaluate them.
How important is it to get results against these MLS teams in Orlando with the loss against Houston Dynamo?
I think it's always good to get results, at the same time our two starting center backs are trialists and we're not even sure if they're going to make the team. Daniel Hernandez is not there so there's a lot of things that make sense.
The thing that doesn't make sense is we need to have a better scoring output. Our strike force has to be a little bit more productive, the defensive part will get better. Yes we want results but I'm really trying to get the team prepared for the first game.