Some belated notes from yesterday's practice and some leftover quotes that didn't make the MLS stories.
Firstly my stories for MLSsoccer from yesterday, if you haven't read them yet take a look. FCD Notebook: Great Expectations Behind Hernandez Loan | Shea Returns to FCD Training, Could Play Saturday
Marama Vahirua There's a guy on trial named Marama Vahirua, a Tahitian attacking midfielder/forward who played with Andrew Jacobson at Lorient. I'm not sure how serious this is, I think it's more of a favor for a friend, but are the training stints that MLS players go on ever really purely for training? Wednesday was either his first or second training session so it was tough to see if he's up to MLS level.
Health Update As I'm sure you've already seen, Brek is back in training at looks set to play on Saturday, I'll have more on that in a little bit. Blas did not train, and his status for Saturday is still very much in the air. The thing with Blas is that the type of player he is, he doesn't really need to train to be ready for Saturday. I bet we see him out there. Ferreira is back in semi-training as well as Villar and I think both could return in a few weeks. Things are starting to look up.
Warshaw is out of his boot but still walking pretty gingerly. I'd imagine another month or so for him before we can start thinking about a return to the pitch.
Yesterday's practice First up was a 6v6 high paced game with Ferreira and Villar sitting in the middle as neutrals who both teams looked to pass the ball to. A drill that seemed to give both of them tons of touches on the ball as they look to get back to fitness. After that it was an 11v11 full sided scrimmage for awhile. Probably the most interesting note, besides Shea returning to full practice, was Benitez dropped to the reserve team during the scrimmage, not that that is a surprise.
Ferreira Targeting July 4 Return The term Independence Day could have a double meaning for at least one person in Frisco as Ferreira told me after practice he hopes to be back in just a couple more weeks for the Wednesday, July 4 game. Is that a realistic target? His fitness levels were never an issue, it's just the pain and risk of re injuring.
I don’t see myself playing against Chivas USA this weekend. I’m working hard, and you never know until the coach says so, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be ready to go on July 4 against Toronto.
Who drops out? For me, the biggest question, either this week or next, is who drops to the bench when Shea returns. It's obvious that Blas will take Sealy's spot, but of Castillo and Jackson, who drops to the bench? Schellas being a coach that will get his best XI on the field however it fits could possibly go with a 4-4-2 this weekend with Blas and Castillo up top if Shea is able to start.
How does it feel to be back out on the training field?
It’s a great joy to get this feeling again, to get back into training mode and to feel the football again, just playing the game again in a way I haven’t felt in a long time. I’m very happy to be able to start working with the team and to see that I’m getting closer and closer to be able to contribute to the team on the field.
Is there any pain or is it more down to a fitness thing getting back out there?
I don’t feel any pain. I’m obviously not 100% and part of it is the mobility is not there yet but I’m getting closer. The more I work, the better it gets. Obviously I need to do more work and get into match fitness but I’m working as hard as I can to get back as fast as possible.
What is the key to keeping Jackson playing well and focused?
I think he’s worked his way into conditioning. He didn’t come in for preseason being at Cruzeiro and he’s had some personal issues he’s had to deal with, that’s why we didn’t bring him back. So his condition level, when he came in, was at pre-season and everyone else was in season.
We did the yo-yo 2test the other day and to everyone’s surprise he finished the highest. He finished at 31 which is our best record and what ended up happening was I told him ‘man you’ve really been working hard’ and he said ‘every day I work in the afternoon as well’ so he’s taken on the responsibility of being helpful to the team and being at his best.
How do we keep him there? I think there’s a couple things necessary. One, he’s got to stay injury free, if he gets a knock he’s not going to be able to do what he did. The other thing is a big part of it is his team’s got to find success.
You can go out and work hard for the team all the time and if you don’t get the results, pretty soon you’re going to wonder why you’re working so hard. I think those two things we can’t control either of them, but I think what he can do is make sure that he’s coming out every day and giving his best.
With getting Brek, David and blas back, does Jackson playing this well turn you from a good into a great team when you have all your weapons?
Right now I think we’re an average team. Let’s talk about being a good team, we’re sitting in the worst spot we possibly can in the conference. As I said to the boys yesterday, I think there are probably ten points that have slipped through our fingers just through players being ejected, being down numbers or suspensions that we’ve hurt ourselves. That’s lack of discipline.
But let’s say we have those ten points, we’d be third in our conference. We don’t want to keep putting ourself in those situations where we don’t have enough games to get where we want. I think if we have all our players back, we’ll be the team that we had expectations of earlier in the year.
I think we’ve already seen it in Disney how players respond having David out there. There’s a higher level of confidence in particular to Fabian Castillo. With David there, he doesn’t let him rest. He works him, he gives him the ball and understands him. There’s a great level of respect for each other.
The Moises Hernandez deal to Guatemala is done can you talk about what you hope to get out of this deal?
One of the reasons we signed Moises was we felt that he has a good upside. He comes out of our academy, he’s naturally left footed, he’s a natural left full back and he’s a player that we’ve seen and we like. The thing we’ve not been able to give Moises is more playing time. We’ve got Jair, Carlos, both left sided players and we’ve even moved Zach Loyd there.
The reason we’ve not been able to give Moises more playing time is he’s not prepared right now. We could give him playing time but he’s going to suffer and the team would suffer. So what we wanted to do, this was a wonderful opportunity to put him in a good league, on a good team to give him more playing time, build his confidence and I’m anticipating a much better player for FC Dallas when he comes back next year.
Getting out of your comfort zone and mentally stronger has to be another positive influence of this deal?
I’m sure it will be. I know he has family down there but I don’t know what his living arrangements will be. I think going into an environment where he doesn’t have his buddies around him and when he makes a mistake the only voice he hears is the coach.
I’m sure when he makes a mistake there, there’s going to be a lot of teammates saying that’s not good enough. Because they know the standard and they know the place that he’s holding, there’s a lot of people that want that place. I think we kind of lose sight of that here because we’ve got mom and dad at home, we’ve got an easy life with a paycheck coming in. I think there, it’s going to be a little bit more pressure and he’s going to be able to cope with it or not, but it’s definitely a learning opportunity.
How did you feel like the game went on Saturday?
After being here and getting back into fitness and all those games, it was good to get a two week stretch where I could get my strength back and even though the first half was very hot, I feel like I had my energy back and was able to raise my level in the second half when the temperature cooled down.
Getting your first goal must have been a big relief?
It feels like a relief because ever since I got here I’ve been trying to score, but I’ve been having a hard time and wasn’t able to contribute. To not only get the goal but help in the defense to keep Dallas in the game will hopefully turn into positive results in the future.
Are you hoping to stick with Dallas for a little longer this time?
It was important for me to go home to get some things I needed to in order and get back here in Dallas with a stronger mentality and in a good state of mind. I like it here a lot and it’s a place I could easily build a family and raise kids because it’s such a nice country and city.