FC Dallas are currently having what can be considered as a more than successful start to their 2014 campaign. Sitting in the top half of the Western Conference table and among the final four clubs left in the 2014 US Open Cup, FC Dallas are in form and enjoying their play after beating the New England Revolution 2-0 on Saturday night in Dallas.
That run of form will be tested in a midweek friendly fixture against EPL club Aston Villa, a match that is in between two league fixtures and will be a common theme across the league as MLS clubs host some notable European clubs throughout the summer to drum up interest and exposure for themselves while giving their fans a chance to watch some stars of Europe in person.
Having to play an EPL club in between MLS matches is no easy task, and despite Seattle’s 3-3 draw with Tottenham and Minnesota United’s 2-0 win over Swansea on the weekend showing that the home clubs can more than compete, these are matches that managers have to prepare for to keep their clubs from slipping against top European opposition. Even if their opposition aren’t in the same midseason form.
FC Dallas manager Oscar Pareja mentioned his preparation process for getting ready for the Wednesday friendly against Aston Villa, mentioning that despite the game not counting for points that his club will be taking the match with a serious and professional approach that the highly anticipated clash deserves.
Pareja told Jon Arnold from Goal.com that he already has a gameplan in place for Villa and that his club is hoping to put on a show for the fans that are coming out for the chance to watch their local side take on one of England’s top division clubs.
“We already have a plan for the game,” Pareja said of the friendly according to Goal. “We want some players to have some minutes. We take this with a lot of responsibility since it is a very high-character team that is coming to our town. Our fans, we want them to come and enjoy the game, be proud about our club. So, the approach for that game is professional.”
Pareja also mentioned that playing Vancouver on Sunday will give his players an extra day of rest, noting that he is more than confident that his club can play a full match on Wednesday and compete for a result at BC Place on Sunday against the Whitecaps.
“I think we can do it. We have a game on Sunday, so that buys us a little bit more time to recover, but the standards that these players have put in for themselves are high. They’re now thinking about Wednesday, and I like that.”
Trying to prove their talent and give their supporters a memorable result while also trying to ensure that their performance in the matches that count don’t suffer, managers are placed in a tough position when preparing for the midseason friendlies that litter the summer schedule in Major League Soccer. It is a reality of the league and is a part of MLS life that isn’t going away any time soon, but preparing for these compressed schedules is where managers make their hard earned dollars as the balance between putting on a show for their fans and preparing for the weekend matches is the difference between remaining high in the table or falling down it for clubs in the summer.