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Tight schedule a challenge for FC Dallas

Published 4/12/2007 3:34:44 AM by Steve Hunt from MLSnet.com
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FC Dallas face one of the most difficult challenges of their 2007 season this week when they play two games in four days. On Thursday, the Hoops travel to Los Angeles to face the Galaxy at The Home Depot Center and will then make a cross-country trek to face the New York Red Bulls on Sunday at Giants Stadium.

FCD come off a 2-2 draw at Real Salt Lake on Saturday to kick off the MLS regular season. The Hoops drew level in second-half stoppage time courtesy of a Carlos Ruiz touch that found the back of the net, and head coach Steve Morrow thinks that coming off that result will make this week a bit easier to prepare for.

"I think it was important for us to get something out of Salt Lake building into the next two games," Morrow said. "The schedule is a little bit crazy for us having to go to L.A. and then flying all the way to New York."

Morrow and the Hoops are eagerly anticipating their next trip out West even though The Home Depot Center has resembled a house of horrors for the club since opening just a few years ago. FCD have never beaten the Galaxy there and haven't defeated the Green and Gold in their locale since Sept. 6, 2000, when they won 1-0 at the Rose Bowl.

"I think the boys are really relishing going to L.A," Morrow said. "As a coach, I know that is someplace that we haven't done well in the last few years and I'm looking to put that right. We have a game plan going into L.A. on Thursday. We are looking to attack them and get on them early in the game. We're looking forward to it. We think we can go anywhere and get a result."

Several of Morrow's players agree that this week shapes up to be a tough one, especially so early in the season.

"We have two away games this week," said second-year striker Dominic Oduro. "It's not going to be easy playing in L.A. and New York. These are going to be two hard games. But we have good quality players, so I think we will do great."

"It's definitely a short week," said midfielder Ramon Nunez. "We started watching video for L.A. today. It's going to be tough playing twice in such quick time. The L.A. game is on grass and will give us a chance to show how we can move the ball around and what we can do. The New York trip will come fast after that, so we just have to be prepared."

Adding further significance to the looming road trip is the fact that Sunday's match at Giants Stadium will mark the second week in a row that FCD have played on artificial turf.

"Turf interrupted our passing a little bit (on Saturday against Real Salt Lake)," Nunez said. "We're a team that likes to pass the ball a lot. That was a little tough against Salt Lake. L.A. is coming up. They have a great field and atmosphere and we're looking forward to that. I think the New York field is a little better than the one in Salt Lake, so we should be able to move the ball a little better there."

"It's a big difference (playing on turf compared to grass)," said left back Chris Gbandi. "Once we can get everybody in this league playing on grass, it will be a big step to show how far this league has come. It's not really soccer (on turf). It should be played on grass and we all as players agree on that. The game was horrible to watch in Salt Lake and hopefully we can get rid of that soon when they get their stadium."

FCD should get a boost this week when Gbandi is expected to return, after an ankle sprain has kept him on the shelf since late March. Striker Roberto Mina, who suffered a strained right MCL during the preseason finale against Clube Atletico Paranaense on March 31 and wasn't available for selection last weekend, will have his status evaluated later this week.

More than likely, the Hoops will also not have Argentinian midfielder Pablo Richetti available for this weekend's matches. He has signed a contract but FCD is still awaiting visa approval and other pertinent paperwork before he can be officially added to the roster

Label: FC Dallas Soccer
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