FRISCO, Texas — The next step of FC Dallas’ offseason will take place in Tucson, Ariz., as the team plays in the Mobile Mini Sun Cup.
FC Dallas will play the Seattle Sounders, Real Salt Lake and the New York Red Bulls in the preseason competition as they continue to prepare for the upcoming season. The team has built up to these matches with its training, playing against local sides, universities and other teams, such as Bayern Munich’s U-23s and San Antonio FC.
“It’s definitely been formatted really well,” midfielder Jacori Hayes. “Each week it ramps up more and more. The most important thing is that we’re peaking by opening weekend. Of course, not peaking season-form wise, but we’re at our best once the season starts up and even throughout the season we keep ramping up through playoffs. Every week we’ve building more forward.”
First-year coach Luchi Gonzalez has worked on many themes throughout the preseason, hoping to enforce his principles with the squad. The 39-year-old coach has spoken about wanting possession of the ball, playing with high energy and working to win the ball back when lost. Now, Gonzalez will test those core values against other Major League Soccer sides.
“This week, we’re working more on high block and low block, in terms of trying to not let the low block counter you and keep them pinned. The low block has the objective of compactness and countering out. We believe the way you train one theme is to really emphasize the counter theme. If we want to work on the counter theme, we do the opposite again. When we press, we work on opposite.
“We don’t want just the reserve group versus the first group. I think there’s moments for that but we want our best against the best. Mix and match it, because I think that’s going to make everybody get out of their comfort zone. I think we’ve been able to do to that through the phases of our game with low block, mid block, high block, attacking and defending, with and without the ball. Everything has transitions, so I think we’re on the last step of the phase, but we’re going to revisit all of them in certain moments and tweak each one of them and do it in a way that anticipates an opponent but always conscious of what our way is.”
Now entering the final stretch before the season starts, the team wants to see what its tactics are up against other different, unique styles across the league.
“We’ve had this third week to lay down our principles and working on things internally without you guys watching,” Hayes said. “Now it’s time to see how it does against other opponents, other tactics that other teams want to play. Can we enforce our will on them and not the other way around? It’s different when you’re scrimmaging 11v11 against each other when you guys are trying to do the same thing. It’s interesting what happens when you play other teams and they have their own style of play. It’s a matter of sticking to our principles.”
“We’re looking forward to it,” Gonzalez said. “That’s the whole plan, to build. We didn’t want to do those games too early and not have a creative way of playing and test it against harder opposition.”’