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FC Dallas’ Reggie Cannon looks back on USMNT appearance

Oct 16, 2018; East Hartford, CT, USA; United States defenseman Reggie Cannon (18) drives the ball against Peru midfielder Edison Flores (20) and defenseman Nilson Loyola (22) in the second half during an international friendly soccer match at Pratt & Whitney Stadium. USA tied Peru 1-1. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

FRISCO, Texas — FC Dallas right back Reggie Cannon made his return to training this week after his United States men’s national team appearance Tuesday during the team’s 1-1 draw against Peru.

Cannon has slowly been getting back to the training regimes of Dallas after being away for the last week, which caused him to miss his first Major League Soccer match of the season. FCD lost that Oct. 13 game 1-0 to D.C. United. He noted the difference in training styles by USMNT coach Dave Sarachan and Dallas coach Oscar Pareja.

“The difference is the length and the intensity of them,” Cannon said of the USMNT training sessions versus those of FC Dallas. “The length for national team training, the maximum is an hour. Everything is short, quick, technical. But with FC Dallas, it’s a lot more intense and everyone has to buy into everything. It’s two different types of training and it’s hard to switch in between the two, so I’m just getting used to that again.”

During the U.S. training sessions, Cannon played and learned from veteran right back DeAndre Yedlin, who plays doe Newcastle United in the English Premier League. Cannon and Yedlin have similar careers, with both spending time in college before being signed as homegrown players and starting in over 30 matches their first seasons as MLS starters.

Yedlin is known as more of an attacking fullback with pace. Cannon has been working on the attacking piece of his game throughout the season and noted Yedlin’s attack as something he wanted to add his skill set.

“It was an honor to meet DeAndre, just to watch him play in person,” Cannon said. “It’s one thing to watch someone on TV, and then be able to play with them. The guy was unbelievable. You could tell why he’s in the Premier League. I learned a lot from watching him play, especially playing with him. I may have to take some things from his game and adapt it to mine. He’s a very strong attacker and that’s what they need in the Premier League. If your fullbacks don’t get high, it’s very hard to break out. DeAndre is a very special player and I’m glad I could take some things from his game and excel mine.”

FC Dallas coach Oscar Pareja watched Cannon’s U.S. performance with a smile and a sense of pride. Pareja can now add him to the list of players he’s helped develop into U.S. national team quality talent. The list already includes LAFC centerback Walker Zimmerman, Colorado Rapids midfielder Kellyn Acosta and current FC Dallas players Jesse Gonzalez and Matt Hedges.

“He’s a big boy,” Pareja said with a laugh. “I was proud to see him in the anthem, with his national team gear and competing internationally and defending his country, and seeing him being solid. The kids don’t stop surprising you. They just need an opportunity and they will do it.”

Acosta scored in the USMNT’s 4-2 loss against Colombia last week. While not on the team anymore, Pareja was excited to see the former FC Dallas Academy player get on the scoresheet and find his love for the game again, something that was missing for a period of time in his finals days with Dallas.

“I talked to him,” Pareja said.  “He’s one of my favorites, and I’m glad to see that goal. I’m glad to see him smiling. I’m glad to see him catching up with the game again. I wish him all the best all the time because he has a great future.”

While Cannon’s national team call-up was a great achievement, the 20-year-old was disappointed the result did not end with a win against Peru. After the initial first-half butterflies, Cannon said he settled into the second half and believes the experience helped him get better as a player.

“You always want your first cap to be a win,” Cannon said. “For the majority of the second half, I played much better. First half, just got rid of my nerves, the butterflies, and I came back and got everything settled.

“I think I played really well. It’s a tough thing playing your first match at the international level. People are saying, ‘It’s Peru,’ but it’s an international team that beat Chile 3-0. It’s a very good team, and I’m glad I got that experience. I feel like I’m a better player now because of it.”

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