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International break comes at right time for FC Dallas

Sep 1, 2018; Frisco, TX, USA; FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges (24) clears the ball against Houston Dynamo forward Mauro Manotas (9) in the second half at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

FRISCO, Texas— The international break has come at the right time for FC Dallas, which will the bye weekend to recharge for the final push toward the postseason.

The team had two games last week, including a 4-3 loss to San Jose Aug. 29 and a 4-2 victory over the Houston Dynamo Sept. 1. Players were off until Wednesday, and some of them used that opportunity to get away from the game.

“I took a trip with my wife, Moises [Hernandez] and Jesse [Gonzalez],” midfielder Victor Ulloa said. “We went to Vegas for a little bit. It was fun. It was a good trip and it got our minds off soccer for a little bit.”

It’s an opportunity for players like Roland Lamah, who was out of the 18-man gameday roster with an injury last weekend against Houston. It also gives right back Reggie Cannon a chance to catch his breath after starting every MLS match this season.

“Honestly, I still feel tired, but those off days help,” Cannon said. “When you’re racking up 28 games, it’s tough. Those off days we really use to recover the knocks and the bangs we took throughout the season, and everyone is coming back, one by one, from the nursery.”

FC Dallas had breaks and byes earlier in the season when the team was knocked out of the Concacaf Champions League. The league scheduled byes for the teams competing in the CCL, but when Dallas was eliminated by Tauro FC, the bye weeks became odd breaks at the beginning of the season.

Coach Óscar Pareja and his staff arranged to keep the team fit and ready to go by emulating game weeks, with scrimmages on weekends. This break, however, seems to be one of rest instead of getting players match fit.

“Every scenario is different,” Pareja said. “You have sometimes when the boys are more rested, sometimes when they are accumulating less games. It’s many factors.”

Not all players are on break, though. Tesho Akindele is on international duty with the Canadian national team. Midfielders Brandon Servania, Paxton Pomykal and defender Bryan Reynolds are with the United States U-20 team and goalkeeper Carlos Avilez is representing Mexico at the U-20 level.

Still others are on loan. Dallas announced defender Moises Hernandez is going to loan with United Soccer League side San Antonio FC. Pareja said the move was made to keep Hernandez fit and continue to get minutes. Forward Jesus Ferreira, who has gone back and forth with the Tulsa Roughnecks, scored a hat trick in the team’s 4-4 draw against Seattle Sounders 2

“Absolutely fantastic for him,” Pareja said of Ferreira’s hat trick. “He’s working. The exercise of him just going there and getting some minutes and being the protagonist of games is great.”

Ulloa said the break comes at a solid time for many of the players, especially with the grueling summer months and short weeks behind them.

“At this point of the season, we’ve played a lot of games and had some tough weeks and months,” Ulloa said.  “Happy to get this little break to focus on little things moving forward, to push for the final seven games and playoffs.”

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