Mulrooney adjusting to new roles
Fcdallas.net had the opportunity to sit down with midfielder Richard Mulrooney and ask him about the 4-3-3 system the team is playing, his rating of the team's performance in Spain and his feelings on Simo Valakari being named the team's captain.
Fcdallas.net: How is the 4-3-3 system that Colin Clarke is playing right now working for you personally and the team collectively?
Richard Mulrooney: "Personally for me, it's a bit of a change. It allows me to go forward more, where as in the past I was more of a sitting midfielder. I'm expected in this system to make those runs that break the other team down. I've enjoyed it. It's a new challenge to me and is something that I haven't pulled out of my bag of tricks for a while.
"As for the team, it's new for all of us. Most of the guys have played in a traditional 4-5-1 or a 4-4-2. This trip has given us a lot of experience in the 4-3-3 and when we get back to Dallas we'll continue to work on it. It's come along and I think each game you have seen more and more of the machine starting to work together."
Fcdallas.net: On a scale of 1-10 (10 being best), how would you rate the team's performance in their five scrimmages in Spain?
Mulrooney: "I would go with a seven. Seven partly because of the conditions we played in during the first few matches making it extremely difficult on us. However, if you can play in those conditions, you can play in anything. I think our play has been better then average, which is a five, but it's not at a 10 yet. I think everybody would admit that we need some more work in the 4-3-3, but that's nothing to panic about because we still have just under a month until the season starts. The coaches have planned it out to be that right timing for us. The feeling off the field for the team is at a 10, but with everything considered I would give us a seven right now."
Fcdallas.net: Which player on this team is somebody you did not know that well before you came to Dallas, but have been impressed with since joining the club?
Mulrooney: "I think I have been more impressed with the team concept here then anything else. Not to take anything away from the players on this team, because I think there are some outstanding players here, but I've been impressed with the selflessness of the guys in Dallas. I have not seen a guy that has put himself before the team and that speaks highly of everyone here, because it is easy for one person to ruin that system and nobody has."
Fcdallas.net: In San Jose, did you ever have a competition similar to the "Survivor-Apprentice" challenge the team is doing here in Spain?
Mulrooney: "No, this is definitely a new novelty to me (laughing). It's been really good because it has built a team bonding off the field and also provided a good competition for the guys. All of the players here are competitors and when you put all the guys together for a competition it gets intense. The coaching staff knows that it's for the better of the team and that's why we do it."
Fcdallas.net: When you first came to Dallas, fcdallas.net asked you how you were going to lead on a new team. You told us that it was going to take time. Now that you have been here for six weeks, are you becoming more of a vocal presence both on and off the field?
Mulrooney: "I feel like I have pushed forward in that leadership role. I definitely feel like I can talk to guys without them thinking that I am getting on to them for the sake of it. They know that I have the right reasons for playing and that will always be to help the team win.
"At the same time, it's good when they got on to me, too, and I know that it is not just negative criticism, but that's its constructive and positive. With all that being said, I think that I have definitely adjusted to Dallas and getting to know my teammates off the field. It makes a difference when you know how they are off the field, especially with spending two weeks in Spain where you don't have that much to do off the field."
Fcdallas.net: Most of the people that follow this team would have said that either Simo Valakari or you would have been the team's captain for 2005. What are your thoughts on Colin Clarke's decision to go with Valakari to wear the arm band for FC Dallas?
Mulrooney: "I think Colin made the best choice. I don't doubt my ability to run the team, but at the same time I'm new here. When players come to a new team, they have to earn that respect from their teammates and I haven't earned that enough to be the captain.
"I know Simo has already earned it from everybody by the way he played last year, being the team's MVP, and you just can't doubt his credentials. While Simo will be wearing the arm band, there will be 27 other guys that can be captains with him. I think you're going to find out that a lot of other guys on this team have that leadership in them. But having Simo as our title leader, there is no better choice."