FRISCO, Texas — For FC Dallas fans eagerly awaiting MLS First Kick on March 11, four weeks might seem like an eternity.
The club itself, however, could use more time. With fresh faces and recovering starters littering the roster, FCD now face the challenge of finding their form before they take the field against the New York Red Bulls in their season opener.
“We’re not there yet,” head coach Schellas Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com at training on Monday. “Actually, we’re far from there.”
All of FCD’s projected starters are in camp, but injuries have limited many of the team’s key contributors this preseason. Midfielder David Ferreira continues to rehab from the fractured right ankle he suffered last April, and though the 2010 MLS MVP is participating in drills, he has yet to fully practice with the squad.
Central midfielders Daniel Hernandez and Andrew Jacobson are progressing well in their recoveries from offseason knee surgery, but are taking a cautious approach to training camp. Veteran center back Ugo Ihemelu, entering his third season with the club, has also been slowed by a minor calf injury to start the preseason.
“David and Daniel are still out,” Hyndman said. “[Jacobson] and Ugo are just coming back, and we’re working in [Hernán] Pertúz and Blas [Perez] … It’s an adjustment, but we also realize that in four weeks, we play.”
Though the team have competed in five scrimmages over the past 10 days, much of the action has featured trialists and probable reserve players. Creating chemistry in such a short period of time will be difficult for the regulars, and the first team surely could benefit from some time together on the field.
“It’s still coming together obviously,” Ihemelu said. “I think we’re still trying to find our image exactly, but right now, I think the coaches are taking a step back and trying to build the basics as a team.”
Dallas are in the midst of a two-week training stint at home in Frisco. The team will depart on Feb. 24 for the Disney Pro Soccer Classic in Orlando, a tournament which will feature six MLS clubs. The trip will be FCD’s final tune-up before their season kicks off.
“I definitely don’t think we will be 100 percent by then,” Ihemelu said of the trip to Orlando. “First game? Who knows, it may not even be 100 percent by then. But it’s not how you start the season, it’s how you finish.”
Offense erupts in weekend scrimmages
FC Dallas competed in two scrimmages over the weekend. The team earned a 1-1 draw with the reserves of Argentine club River Plate on Saturday, midfielder Bruno Guarda scoring the team’s lone goal on a 72nd-minute penalty kick.
On Sunday, the team took on the University of Memphis, and outclassed the squad 6-0.
“I thought we came out a little unbalanced and uncoordinated in our first game,” Hyndman said. “I thought we did a pretty good job with the second game. I was able to get different players together and it seemed like the mixture was much better.”
One constant across both games was the play of midfielder Andrew Wiedeman, who continues to compete for the starting right midfield role. The Generation adidas talent set up the PK in the first match and tallied three goals against Memphis.
“I thought I played well, but it’s a good team result,” Wiedeman said on Monday. “You can see the team is starting to gel, take formation, and we’ve been putting together some decent performances.”