Texas Tour 2014: Guzan - The heat is on this pre-season
Brad Guzan says Villa are turning up the heat on their 2014-15 season preparations - under the searing sun of Texas.
Guzan is set to link-up with the claret and blues ahead of the second game of their Stateside schedule against Houston Dynamo on Saturday.
He can't wait to see his colleagues again after a shorter-than-normal summer break following his involvement with the USA squad for their impressive World Cup.
Guzan is eager to put his pedal to the mettle and get in top shape for the coming campaign, which begins at Stoke City on August 16.
He thinks hot-weather training and exciting encounters with FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo in the sizzling sun will stand him - and his team-mates - in good stead for the rigours of the arriving term.
He said: "Their players will be in mid-season while we're in pre-season, of course.
"The guys from Dallas and Houston will be used to the heat and also the physical demands of what it's like to play football in those type of climates.
"For us it's going to be a real challenge - but I believe it will be an exciting one.
"Another reason for that is the quality of the MLS. It has gotten a lot better in the past few seasons - and certainly since I left.
"Last time we were in the US, the boys really enjoyed their time there and this will be no different. We're looking forward to it.
"I still keep up with the MLS - the players and the teams. I have obviously been with the men's national team in the World Cup but this tour will be another chance to meet up with some old friends and some familiar faces.
"More important than that though, it will be a good opportunity to push forward with our pre-season plans and get some quality work done."
Guzan believes Dallas and Houston will provide stiff tests for Paul Lambert's men.
He says both sides have improved and progressed over the past few seasons.
He added: "Houston have a proven track record of being successful, especially in the play-offs.
"They're not going to be easy games. They'll be challenges.
"The manager in Houston always does a good job of preparing his team and Dallas is a team that's on the rise with some young, eager kids that want to prove themselves.
"The hospitality and the stadiums will be first class.
"Houston has opened a brand new soccer-specific stadium, so they're no longer at the university. It will be my first time there so that will be exciting.
"They both have a good following in terms of supporters and I'm sure they'll be excited for us to get there as much as we are for to bring the Villa brand to them.
"Just from the years that I've been here, the amount of Villa fans in America who have reached out to me via social media or letters in the post has been great.
"Villa has big numbers of fans everywhere around the world. For us to be able to go over to the States and hopefully put together two good games for our supporters on that side of the pond will be good for everyone."
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