The joke around Toyota Soccer Center is that the team is on its third preseason of the year. For the three Homegrown players who attended January camp with the US Men’s National Team, this is their fourth camp, such has been the stop-start nature to their season.
FC Dallas was due to travel for its third game of the season on the day MLS halted the season as the COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold of daily life. MLS instituted a resumption of team practices ahead of the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando. The Hoops fancied their chances of winning the tournament but were left unable to compete with at least 11 players coming down with the Novel Coronavirus.
“This is definitely something new for all of us,” said FC Dallas midfielder Paxton Pomykal. “Also hard on our bodies to be able to you know have a preseason and then have to stop for a few months and then go back and have another preseason and then the lockdown for two weeks in Orlando and then come back here and you and another.”
Pomykal was one of the three players called up by Gregg Berhalter in January, although the 2019 MLS All-Star was not a participant in the physical aspect of camp as he rehabilitated from a lingering sports hernia issue. After playing through pain for most of last year, Pomykal is happy to not have to manage that aspect as much as the previous year.
“It’s a lot better than it was, and improving every day,” said Pomykal. “Right now I’m feeling really good. I’ll have a day maybe where I strike a lot of balls with my left foot, or my right foot, and my groin will just be sore but it’s not really in pain anymore. By the following day I’m good to go again so really happy about that.”
Dallas resumes its season on Wednesday against Nashville SC. The first-year MLS outfit joined FCD in making an early exit from the MLS is Back Tournament after both teams suffered a mass of positive cases of COVID-19. Despite starting their maiden year with two defeats, Pomykal isn’t looking past a team desperate to get their first points.
“They’re hungry just like we are,” said Pomykal. “I know they’re disappointed. I talked to a few guys on their team. They’re just like I said they’re just as hungry as we are. We can’t count out an opponent like Nashville, even though they’re a new team.”
Nashville will play three games against FC Dallas to make up the numbers from games both teams missed in Orlando. The teams will play 7:30 pm kickoffs on Wednesday and Sunday at Toyota Stadium, with a third game in Nashville later in the season.