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FC Dallas readies for Camp

Published 2/5/2008 10:35:46 AM by staff from fcdallas
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FC Dallas officially starts preparing for the 2008 Major League Soccer season next Monday with their first preseason workout of the year. The 2008 Hoops will look markedly different than last year's edition thanks to the departure of center back Clarence Goodson, their '07 defender of the year, and captain Carlos Ruiz, plus the signing of Mexican defender Daulio Davino. In addition, a few other signings could be imminent. FCD head coach Steve Morrow, who is beginning his second season in charge, is ready to get going. 

"We feel very good about what we've accomplished so far in the offseason with the draft, bringing in (Duilio) Davino and hopefully one or two more as well," Morrow said. "Everything we set out to accomplish in terms of improving the roster, we have gotten those things done but there's more to do still."

The Hoops will spend most of February in Frisco, Texas, training at Pizza Hut Park. A preseason match with the University of Memphis is already set for Sat., Feb. 16 but Morrow said that at least one more college match, likely against local school Southern Methodist University, as well as a possible trip to Monterrey, Mexico to play sister club Tigres later in the month, are strong possibilities.

At the end of the month, FCD will depart for a 12-day trip to Brazil, where they will train with South American partner Clube Atletico Paranaense. The sides will play down there and also meet again the weekend of March 23 in Frisco, one week before the Hoops kick off the 2008 MLS season against Chivas USA.

"We're really excited," he said. "The players came in today for their fitness assessments. Once you see everyone coming in, it gets you really excited to get going again. We can't wait for the season to start and just for some games to get going in preseason."

Morrow admitted that he is looking at several options up top but those don't include D.C. United midfielder Christian Gomez, the MLS MVP in 2006, who is currently on the market.

"He (Gomez) is out there but that's a position that I feel that we're strong in," Morrow said. "There are a lot of things to consider. He's a quality player but not every quality player fits into what your team needs at a particular time. That's not just on the field but everything off the field as well."

The approach of the FCD boss to his second preseason as head coach is largely the same as it was a year ago. But Morrow did say there will be a bigger emphasis on fitness this year.

"We're always looking to improve how we do the fitness side of things," Morrow said. "This year, for example in the preseason, we have guys from the Michael Johnson Center coming over and they will assist us with a lot of our preseason work. ... It's a little bit more compact this year than last since we're doing more in Brazil but the schedule is largely the same as it was last year."

An integral part of that plan will be having many two-a-day sessions throughout the month of February. "For the most part, the plan will be for one of the sessions to be ball work and for the other one to be fitness-oriented," Morrow said. "For most of February, there will be a lot of two-a-day sessions in there."

FCD also plans on bringing in a number of guest players early next week to look at. They will then be evaluated in a scrimmage next Saturday, Feb. 9. One player getting an invite is ex-Real Salt Lake forward Jamie Watson, a Dallas native.

"He (Watson) will be one of the guest players that we will bring in," Morrow said. "We're bringing in a lot of guys who we think are worth looking at. We'll do that the first week of preseason and have a scrimmage game organized for the ninth to take a look at all of them at one time."

FCD is also nearing a deal with a player from their Brazilian partner CAP, likely right back Andre Rocha.

"It's getting closer," Morrow said. "It's something that's been going on for a little while. These things can be quite complicated but we're closer to finalizing something."

One question mark for 2008 is Ecuadorian striker Roberto Mina, who had 10 goals and five assists in his first two seasons with the Hoops before missing 2007 with a knee injury.

"He's been working hard in the offseason with his fitness and we're trying to negotiate a new contract with him," Morrow said. "We didn't pick up his option and we hope we can work out a deal to bring him back that makes sense for us and him. We'll see how he does through the preseason."

However, not returning is World Cup-winning midfielder Denilson, who was unimpressive in a 10-game stint last summer and fall.

"We made him an offer based on our assessment of him during his time here and haven't had a favorable response to that offer," Morrow said. "So, it looks like we're going to be moving on from that situation."

With six Generation adidas players on their roster, that means that all but four spots of the FCD developmental roster are filled and that's fine with Morrow.

"Our developmental roster is looking very strong," he said. "We have the six Generation adidas players on there and a couple of other locks as well. There aren't too many spots up for grabs and we're extremely pleased with how strong our developmental roster is."

Label: FC Dallas, MLS, Jamie Watson, Andre Rocha
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