FC Dallas looks to build off Leagues Cup run with MLS play resuming
After a few weeks off, Nico Estevez and his club are ready to begin their playoff push.
It has been a long three weeks off since FC Dallas last took the field against Inter Miami in a wild 4-4 draw that ended in Lionel Messi and Miami advancing on penalty kicks and later winning the Leagues Cup.
FC Dallas head coach Nico Estevez has had some time to think about that penalty kick loss ahead of their season return on Saturday against Copa Tejas rivals Austin FC.
“We used it as a time to refresh our mind, after a really condensed and tight schedule in the first part of the season and also with the Leagues Cup, the heat and everything,” Estevez said during his weekly press conference. “It was good for us to refresh a little bit. Get away and come back with a mind focused on MLS.”
Estevez believes that he and his squad took a lot of lessons away from the Leagues Cup run and can use them in the final 11 games of the regular season.
“One important thing is that we have 11 games left to end the season,” said Estevez. “One of the things that we can take as positive is the Leagues Cup that we can use for the next game in front of us. In the Leagues Cup, every game was important. If you lose a game, you are out. That importance of every single game, every single action in the game. I think it helped us to be focused, very determined and play with authority. That is the thing we can take now into MLS to help us approach the games with a different urgency and a different mindset.”
The one positive thing for Estevez in the return to action is that he will finally have a fully healthy group. The only player on the club’s current injury list is Homegrown forward Tarik Scott, who has been on the season-ending injury list since the beginning of the season. Estevez said that there are no new injuries that have popped up over the last couple of weeks.
The other side of things for Estevez is incorporating two newcomers into the mix this weekend against Austin. Canadian midfielder Liam Fraser and Spanish midfielder Asier Illarramendi have been spending time in full training this week, and Fraser even took part in the club’s intra-squad scrimmage last weekend.
FC Dallas will begin their playoff push as they currently sit just below the Western Conference playoff line in 10th place after having their August 20th match against the Philadelphia Union rescheduled. The rescheduled Philadelphia game will cause a little more schedule congestion in September.
“We are not in Leagues Cup anymore, we don’t have a 23-man roster, we will have a 20-man roster,” explained Estevez. “It is going to be harder to get into the roster. I think this is positive news because, as you know, we will have a tight schedule in September and having everyone healthy will help.
“I think every game is gonna be very meaningful. Because when you have games against just teams from your conference, is not only about it if you win if you are not letting them get any points. For us is going to be, as I said, this is where we take from the Leagues Cup. It was about beating the opponent and going to the next round, and I think is a good approach that we can have here.”