Dallas looks to bring MLS title to Texas
Players broke out hats and gloves for training ahead of Sunday's MLS Cup final between FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids.
The temperature was under 40 Friday, making conditions a bit daunting.
''It's very cold out here,'' FC Dallas' Colombian playmaker, David Ferreira, said through a translator. ''We're going to try to adapt the next few days so on Sunday we're prepared to be on the field.''
Ferreira, who was selected league MVP on Friday, practiced along with teammate Atiba Harris, a native of balmy St. Kitts and Nevis.
''I don't think the cold weather's going to bother us, especially when we're competing in the most important game of FC Dallas' history,'' Harris said. ''I don't think the weather will bother us Sunday.''
The temperature figures to be in the 30s for Sunday's game, which starts at 8:30 p.m.
''It's going to be cold,'' Colorado forward Conor Casey said. ''From what I hear it's going to be rainy. But it's cold and rainy in Denver too, so we'll be prepared.''
Colorado coach Gary Smith, a British native, had just one complaint and it wasn't the climate.
He called the field surface ''a bit bobbly,'' but didn't seem overly concerned.
''We've had a decent workout and I think everyone's feeling that much better about themselves,'' he added.
Dallas finished the regular season with a 12-4-14 record while Colorado was 12-8-10, making this a meeting of the lowest combined seeds to face off in an MLS championship. Dallas finished third in the Western Conference while Colorado was fifth.
''Who would have thought at the beginning of the year that FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids would have been in the championship game?'' Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said. ''I think it says a lot about both teams. I know we're playing our best soccer right now and I know Colorado's playing their best soccer and we're hoping to put a great display of quality soccer that represents the MLS.''
Led by Ferreira and goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, Dallas eliminated defending champion Real Salt Lake and league leader Los Angeles and David Beckham.
''That game against L.A. may have been the best game of the season for us,'' Hyndman said. ''And sometimes when you finally get it right, you don't want to be tinkering with it too much. I think one of the problems coaches have in general is sometimes coaches overthink and they overact. And sometimes you forget it's really the players' game. What you do is you put the players on the field that you think are the best at the time and let them carry on.
''I've seen a lot of times where, myself included, we've tinkered with things and only made it worse. So I don't think there will be too many changes.''
Colorado's Omar Cummings and Casey combined for 27 goals this season.
''He'll bring problems to us just with his pure speed and his runs,'' Hyndman said. ''And Casey is just so strong, so physical in the air and (has) great experience so he'll bring us some problems. Those two I think are probably the best two tandem strikes in the league that are playing right now.''
Hyndman also singled out veteran Pablo Mastroeni and Jeff Larentowicz as the heart of the team.
''They are solid blue-collar players that win every ball in the midfield and they just basically ground it out,'' he said.
Dallas has never been to the MLS championship game before. Colorado made it to the final once, losing in 1997. The winner becomes the ninth MLS club to take the title.