Soccer Sinsei Q&A: April 29, 2011

Caught the very end of practice on Friday but learned that Schellas was throwing a number of looks out there. Since Fabian Castillo is back on the field, it looks pretty unlikely that FCD rolls out in a 4-4-2 against LA on Sunday evening at the Oven.

Here’s a quick Q&A with the gaffer and if you’re into reading a lot into what the Soccer Sinsei has to say, check out the answer to the last question about Ferreira’s leadership style. It may or may not tell everyone who’s starting in his place come Sunday against Beckham and company.


Q: What is the focus this week, offense or defense?

A: We’ve watched a lot of games on LA. We know what their tendencies are. We know how they like to do things. So what we’re trying to do is keep our shape. When you remove a player from your starting lineup, what you want to make sure is whoever goes into that position or however you decide to play, that they understand their roles. It takes time to learn those roles but if you’re going to learn something, it’s more important to learn the defensive shape. That’s where you can really tell the effect.

Q: Do you think Alexander is an option at Ferreira’s spot?

A: Absolutely, yeah. I think we have Eric Alexander. I think we have Eric Avila. I think we have Ricardo Villar. I think they all bring certain qualities. The thing with David was David had all those qualities. So, they all bring certain qualities. A Bruno Guarda, that’s his type of position as well. So we’ll need a little bit more time to figure out who exactly is that person but we’re moving into a game on Sunday.

Q: Do you have a pretty good idea who that might be or do you need to see more in Saturday’s session before you decide?

A: I think when the coaches sit down, we’ll toss this over many times. One more session is really not going to be a difference maker because we’ve seen the players since February 2. There are a lot of things that come into this. It’s handling the pressure. It’s taking the pressure off your team. Not only does a player have to handle the pressure of being at home and playing a good team, sellout crowd, expectations are high on him, but also are other players going to be able to help that player get through it and then is that player going to be able to help others? So, we’re asking a lot from a few of our players.

Q: Some coaches like to change formations frequently but you don’t. Discuss.

A: There’s a lot of teams that will switch formations or style of play when they’re on the road, an idea of going in and maybe sneaking out a win and maybe for sure getting a tie. Our philosophy is this: let’s do what we do well and let’s do it at home, let’s do it on the road. And that’s why a record was set last year of an unbeaten streak on the road. I think everything has its positives and it’s negatives. If you’re prepared to change the structure of your team, are you prepared to accept the negatives that come with it? The positives must outweigh those negatives.

Q: Do you feel like this year’s team is as deep as your 2010 squad was?

A: I would agree that depth last year was a big thing for us. We’ve tried to get depth this year. We’ve tried to bring in some more experienced players-Ricardo Villar, Maykel Galindo, those players that can add a little more experience as well as depth. I think depth wise, we’re going to be OK. As far as compared to last year, I can’t say that yet because we haven’t really been looking to bring people in on depth. Now as we go into the games in May and not having Ferreira, we’re going to have an opportunity to see.

Q: When Galindo came in about a month ago, you said it would likely take four weeks for him to get fit. Is he now fully fit?

A: Yeah, I think we’re working with him. I think he’s working. I think his body is starting to shape differently. It’s a hard thing to come in and change your conditioning level, your body fat, your diet. There’s a lot of things involved in that but I will say Maykel has worked awfully hard to put himself in that position.

Q: Bryan Leyva is someone else who has struggled with his fitness. How is that coming?

A: I think he’s learning. I think players like Bryan, rightfully so we bring those players into the professional program because they have so much quality, so much technical ability, so much vision. Everything’s offensive for Bryan. What we’re trying to do is make him a complete player and try to incorporate the defensive side of the ball. And the only way you can do that is to have that fitness level to do that. I think the reward for him is playing better and to get on the field. So, right now, I think he’s working awfully hard at it. I think it’s something he understands but again, it’s not just a fitness thing and it’s not just to Bryan. To all players, it’s not just a fitness thing. It’s body fat, recovery. It’s strength and power and it’s also mental strength. And a lot of that kind of stuff comes with focusing and dieting.

Q: With Oscar Pareja now heading up the reserve team, has that changed the amount of input you and the rest of the coaching staff now have?

A: No, it’s not just a name only. I think he’s in charge of the reserve team but it’s all through coaches’ conversations. We have meetings every day and we talk about players and how they did in the reserve game. Even though he’s coaching the team, the whole staff is out there watching. We’re all making decisions. I tell him who I want to see and in what position. The idea of reserve games is to get these guys ready for the first team that they can get playing time and I can see them in a competitive environment. Now I can OK, this guy’s a center back because I’m looking for a center back coming off the bench and I can tell in a reserve game if he’s ready or not ready.

Q: After missing training yesterday, Fabian Castillo is back out today. Are there no further issues with his hammy?

A: Yeah, I think he’s a tough kid. He’s taken a heck of a beating. It reminds me of David [Ferreira]. He takes a heck of a beating. As long as he keeps showing up for the games, we’re happy.

Q: While he’s recovering, do you expect Ferreira to continue to hold a leadership role in the room?

A: I think so. I don’t David has always been the big voice. I think he’s always been the player that leads by example. By not having that ability to lead by example, I think he will be a little bit more vocal but probably much more vocal to the Colombians who he feels much more closer to or the language issue, maybe an Eric Avila. Avi, you’re playing my position. Here are some of the things that can help you. It’s not going to be rah-rah, team meeting type of things.