FRISCO, Texas — FC Dallas are leaving the rolling plains of Frisco behind and heading south for a weeklong training trip to Cancún, but they hardly envision a relaxing Mexican vacation.
In fact, in the eyes of head coach Schellas Hyndman, the preseason is about to get interesting.
“Things are going to change,” Hyndman said on Monday. “It’s going to be more in to team structure. It’s going to be more into identifying who we are going to keep.”
The team assembled by Hyndman this offseason is finally starting to take form — at least in the locker room. Newly signed Panamanian defender Carlos Rodríguez arrived in Frisco on Tuesday, while Brek Shea and forward Blas Pérez trained for the first time on Monday.
Building the team on paper is simple. But now, Hyndman must focus on acclimating the new players to their teammates and building team chemistry.
“I think we need to start developing team coordination,” Hyndman said. “How do you get better with a guy unless you start playing with him? You must start to read him, start to understand him.”
There’s also the issue of a few final pieces to balance out the roster, including a right midfielder and another striker for depth. A number of trialists have trained with the team in Frisco and will travel to Mexico, including forward Scott Sealy and defender Scott Gordon.
While the two have impressed in camp thus far, they and the other roster hopefuls will face fresh competition on the team’s trip.
“There are probably four or five players going to Cancún that are on the bubble, so we have to see how they’re doing compared to our other players,” Hyndman said. “I think there are two or three players that will be joining us in Mexico that we will be looking at. Some of the teams we will be playing against will also have some players that we will want to evaluate.”
The team is scheduled to play three exhibition scrimmages while in Mexico. The first test will come on Thursday against Inter Playa del Carmen, a third-tier Mexican club. The second scrimmage will match the club against the U-23 squad of Atlante FC of the Mexican first division on Saturday before they wrap up the trip with a scrimmage against the New York Red Bulls next Monday.
FCD and the Red Bulls will open their respective seasons against one another on March 11 in Frisco.
“We’ve got three games down there, so things get pretty serious,” Shea told MLSsoccer.com. “At the same time, we’ve got to work on some things as a team, knowing that there are a lot of new guys. We’ve got to get the chemistry back. If we don’t get results right away, it’s no big deal.”
The team will return to training in Frisco on Feb. 9 before leaving on Feb. 24 to defend their title in the Walt Disney World Resort Pro Soccer Classic in Orlando, Fla.