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Changes are still afoot for FC Dallas

Published 2/12/2007 10:06:35 AM by Tobias Lopez from Dallas, Texas
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Even though FC Dallas finished first in the Western Conference during the 2006 regular season, many changes are afoot at Pizza Hut Park. The most obvious shift heading into the start of preseason training today lies with coach Steve Morrow taking control.

Morrow is well known to the players as a former defender for the club (2002-03) and as Colin Clarke's top assistant for the past three years.

"There's a lot of stuff that I want to do differently, and hopefully we'll get that across in the first few weeks," Morrow said. "I met with the players in meetings last week and was able to lay down the law a little bit and tell them of my expectations. The message was very simple about what to expect going forward both on and off the field."

Clarke wasn't the only significant member of the squad not retained during the off-season. The departures of midfielders Ronnie O'Brien (traded to Toronto FC) and former captain Simo Valakari (contract not renewed) leave two spots wide open. This off-season, FC Dallas tried to replace Valakari with Dutch star Edgar Davids, who signed instead with Ajax in Holland.

"I think at this moment we have very good cover in both positions with some of the young kids," Morrow said. "I think we'll use a style of play to get the best out of all the talent. With those players gone, some young players are going to have to be ready to step up and take the positions."

Morrow said he's not done signing players and could add at least two more during training camp.

The FC Dallas defense showed little change from 2005 (46 goals allowed) to 2006 (44 goals allowed). This off-season the club traded veteran defender Greg Vanney but acquired Adrian Serioux, who was a member of Houston's 2006 MLS Cup winning side.

"With Greg moving on, some young players need to step up," Morrow said. "We've got to get stronger there and develop the mind-set that we defend as a team and as a whole unit."

The next month and a half will see FC Dallas travel to Arizona, Brazil, Oklahoma and Puerto Rico. Somewhere along the way, players will be cut and starting jobs will be filled.

IN THE KNOW - Key dates
Through Friday: Training camp, Pizza Hut Park, Frisco (Open to public)
Sunday: Preseason opener, vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m., Phoenix
Feb. 23: vs. SMU, 6:30 p.m., SMU
March 7: vs. Atletico Paranaense, TBD, Curitiba, Brazil
March 11: Lamar Hunt Pioneer Cup, vs. Columbus Crew, 5 p.m., Pizza Hut Park
March 17: vs. Chicago Fire, 7 p.m., Norman, Okla.
March 24: vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, Puerto Rico
March 31: vs. Atletico Paranaense, 7:30 p.m., Pizza Hut Park
April 7: Season opener, at Real Salt Lake, 5 p.m.
April 22: Home opener, vs. Colorado, 2 p.m.

Label: FC Dallas, MLS Western Conference, Steve Morrow
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