When FC Dallas and the United States Under-23 team square off in a 10 AM scrimmage on Wednesday at the FC Dallas Stadium complex, that game could feature a match-up that the FCD players have regularly seen in practice over the last few years.
That’s because if Zach Loyd starts at right back for FCD and Brek Shea starts at left mid for the U-23s, then they could square off against one another, which will not be a new experience for the ex-tar Heel.
“No, it will be normal. We match up in practice every day, so it’ll be just like training all over again,” Loyd said.
But after facing college foes over the last few weeks, the third-year defender admits it will be nice to have a step up in caliber of competition, especially with a trip to Orlando, FCD’s last excursion of the preseason, looming later this week.
“I definitely think as a group, we’re ready. We’ve been putting in a lot of work with two-a-days, going to Cancun, putting in some work and playing some teams from other countries. So I think the competition is something we definitely invite,” Loyd said. “We want to play the best competition we can in preseason and I think that the 23s will be real good test for us going in there before we head down to Orlando and before we play a couple MLS teams.”
FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman clearly agrees. "Yeah, we've been at it for a little bit over a month and we’ve had a lot of new people come in. So we’re trying to make a lot of adjustments and pleased with the progress we’re making but also realize so is every opposition,” Hyndman said. “So we've got to make sure we’re all playing a system of play that we understand and have accepted. People need to know their job description and do it. Then, the competition will bring the best out of us.”
Besides Shea, there are several other names to watch with the Under-23 squad. Of course, Freddy Adu, who is now with the Philadelphia Union, is one such player along with local products Greg Garza of Grapevine and Jared Jeffrey of Richardson, both of whom play in the U.S. midfield. Other names of note include striker Juan Agudelo of the New York Red Bulls and defender Ike Opara, a former standout at Wake Forest who now plays in San Jose.