FRISCO, Texas — Newly acquired forward Blas Pérez and returning midfielder Brek Shea were excited to arrive for FC Dallas preseason camp on Monday morning, but no one was happier than manager Schellas Hyndman to finally have them on board.
“It’s been kind of interesting situation because we’ve had so many players not here or injured,” Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com on Monday. “Now that we’re starting to get the players in, the level of practice is raising and there’s more excitement. It’s fantastic.”
Both players competed in last week’s friendly match between the US and Panama in Panama City, and both were given time off to recover before Monday’s session. Hyndman is aware that Shea (above, left), in particular, has had little rest this offseason following the team’s 48-game campaign in 2011.
“I even said to Brek, ‘If you need more time, let me know,’” said Hyndman. “He’s been non-stop since last year. He had the national team call-up, went to Arsenal, had another national team call-up and now he’s back at training.”
Despite the offer from his manager, Shea was ready to join the team on Monday morning. The midfielder, who had a breakout season in 2011, expressed that he felt great physically and denied having heavy legs entering camp. In fact, he spent extra time on the field after practice, working to improve his close range finishing touch.
“I think I need to improve on everything I do,” said Shea. “You look at one of Arsenal’s top players, Robin van Persie – he’s still telling me that he needs to improve on things. You can never be satisfied or you’ll fall off quickly.”
Monday also marked the beginning of the Blas Pérez era in Dallas. Pérez (above, right) joins the team having played last season with Club León of the Mexican second division, scoring 19 goals in just 23 starts. The club targeted Pérez for his individual skills as a striker, but the Panamanian was quick to point out the need to gel with his new team.
“I’m happy and motivated,” Pérez told MLSsoccer.com through a translator. “I’m ready to do things the right way and play together as a group.”
The 6-foot-1 forward flashed his skills as a deadly finisher in his first training session, showing both power and accuracy with his right foot from distance, as well as his creativity from close range. With Shea and midfielder Fabián Castillo providing excellent service to Pérez in drills, it’s easy to envision a dangerous FC Dallas attack in the coming season.
“They are great players who are very talented,” said Pérez of his new teammates. “As we come together as a group, I think we are going to have a great chance to win a title.”