As FC Dallas players became the latest to return to their club's facility for individual voluntary workouts on Monday, the first small step in a return to normalcy, their coach revealed there is at least one 2020 item of business that remains on schedule — for now.
Speaking to reporters on a conference call, Luchi Gonzalez said Dallas are still progressing as though current Pachuca striker Franco Jara will join the MLS team in July when the MLS Secondary Transfer Window is scheduled to open. He acknowledged, though, that all schedules in the days of COVID-19 are scribbled in faint pencil.
"Our plan is the normal plan, is to have him here the same time we planned to have him before, which was in this July moment of the transfer window," Gonzalez said. "I know that transfer window could change, based on decisions of MLS or FIFA or Liga MX. But I can not control that, we can not control that. Our plan has to stay the same. So our expectation is that he’s here joining the group by July, and I know that’s the same feeling for him as well. But also with the right focus like we said, focused on him doing the best for Pachuca in this moment."
Dallas signed Jara to a pre-contract in January that stipulated his arrival at the open of the summer window on a Designated Player deal. That timing could become more complicated depending on when and how MLS and Liga MX resume seasons brought to a halt by coronavirus.
Back at it in Texas. 🤠 pic.twitter.com/Yd951I6lZG— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 11, 2020
"This is not an easy moment for any club in the world," Gonzalez said. "And so we respect his duties for Pachuca. He’s a Pachuca player today, and we respect that and we want him to do that to the best of his ability and follow whatever steps they need to there in Mexico. But there is a good communication."
As for those already on Dallas' roster, Gonzalez said 25 of 28 players participated Monday and that he expected all 28 to participate at some point during the week. They were split into two separate sessions, one cohort arriving at 8:30 am CT and the other following at 10:10.
He also expressed thanks that the decision of the league to allow voluntary individual workouts could bring some sense of routine back for his staff and his players, but knows keeping the work fresh in this format will be a challenge if teams are not allowed to progress to small group sessions sooner than later.
"They’re going to get used to this work in a week, in two weeks, so we have to be creative," Gonzalez said. "If we’re not doing small group work yet, we have to make sure there’s an emotional stimulus, there’s a competition, there’s relay races. There’s got to be joy and excitement in the work that they’re doing individually. And then pushing them out of their comfort zones. We’ve got to find a way to still connect them as teammates. They’re 20-30 yards from each other."