The team began practice with a plyometric warmup that involved lunges and hops.
Dan Kennedy and Chris Seitz then separated from the rest of the group and practiced catching, diving, and footwork with Drew Keeshan. Seitz looked to be the sharper of the two as Kennedy dropped the ball a couple times. Kennedy only arrived 2 days ago, so he has plenty of time to get into the swing of things. I asked Seitz how he’s feeling after practice and he said, "Great!"
While the goalies were in the corner, the rest of the players were in the middle of the field playing keep-away. There were 2 separate games being played. In one game, Mauro Diaz was "all-time-offense" and in the other it was Kyle Bekker. Toronto fans had informed us that the best part of Bekker’s game is his short passing, and they were right. Bekker was the standout performer. He was constantly finding open space in which to receive the ball. His first touch was sharp and his passing was precise. Hollingshead was not so accurate. At one point he threw up his hands in disappointment that the ball did not go where he intended. He will have to improve his first touch if he is going to be a contributor on the right wing.
The team combined into one big game of keep-away with the players in formation. One team featured the veteran and first-team players. Blas and Tex lined up at forward. Diaz was in central midfield. Atiba Harris was positioned at right back.
The other team had many new faces, including Otis Earle at left back. There was a tall CB with spiky brown hair who I figured to be a trialist. The Beer Guardians standing next to me were impressed with his composure. As he was walking out of practice, he said, "Hi" to me. I asked him, "Who are you?" He responded, "I am from Peru!" We should find out who his is no later than next week, when the team leaves for Florida.
The players then ran laps around the field for about 20 minutes. Oscar and Marco joined in. About 15 guys from El Matador were there to lend their support and started singing songs to encourage Oscar and Fabián. They got a smile and a wave from each as they ran by! All of the players looked to be in good shape, although it was only moderate jogging. Fernando Clavijo arrived at this time. He was recently in South America and spent his birthday yesterday with his family in Miami.
After practice, Big D interviewed FC Dallas’ first round draft pick, Earle. He has enjoyed his first two practices as a professional. "I've been looking forward to this for a long time." Is he nervous? "No, not at all. I feel relaxed. I’m just excited to be here. I feel lucky and blessed as well." At the draft, Oscar told him that he is happy to have him and that FC Dallas was looking for a left back. If Otis needs advice, his dad is always there and has helped teach him to take care of his body and train well. Otis has only been in Dallas for 3 days and is still settling in to his new surroundings and teammates. "I'm happy to be playing with players at the level I need to aspire to."