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Keeping Score: FC Dallas burns opening match in Loons loss

We've got your one-stop shop for FC Dallas match coverage! Get the recap, food reviews, fan of the match story, "Becky G" forecast match score and more!

FRISCO, Texas — Welcome to Keeping Score: Your complete FC Dallas match day experience. 

Throughout the 2023 season, I'm striving to bring you complete FC Dallas match day coverage, covering everything from the game itself, to the food, to the fans that make the game so great, our "Becky G forecast" (I'll explain later) and everything in between in a fun, digestible way.

So, without further ado, let's dive into week one. It wasn't the best way to start the season.

FC Dallas' 13-match unbeaten streak in home openers – seven wins and six draws – came to an end on Saturday.

Minnesota United FC took down FC Dallas 1-0 without its best player, attacking midfielder Emanuel Reynoso, who has been suspended without pay by Major League Soccer for failure to report to preseason camp.

The lone goal was scored in the 47th minute by Ménder García on a rebound shot after a volley was saved by Maarten Paes. FC Dallas nearly scored in the 41st minute off of a Sebastian Lletget header and again in the 81st minute with an Alan Velasco right-footed shot which missed a bit wide right. Lletget's header was the only registered shot on goal for the entire match, however.

Watch the full match highlights here.

FC fit check

Big takeaway: What the bag?!?! This must be a soccer player thing. I'll ask around and get back to you on that.

FC Dallas started its first fit tweets of the year with the true FCD bromance, Paul Arriola and Lletget, who have known each other for years. Arriola, who I've been told is a notable fashionista, came into the 2023 season rocking a three-piece suit and black boots.

Defender duo Sebastien Ibeagha and Nkosi Tafari started their FC fit check debuts with a bang (see second tweet below).

The rest of the gang kept it more casual, coming with various versions of the hoodie and pants comfy look.  

FCD Fan of the Match

Throughout the season, I want to highlight you, the fans, who make up #DTID (for you more casual fans, this is "Dallas Til I Die"). For this first Fan of the Match, and because I was out of town (full disclosure) for the season opener, we'll begin this section with two high-profile fans whose fandom stories are more well-known: the wifey club. 

Paul Arriola's wife, Akela Arriola, and Lletget's fiancé, star singer and actress Becky G, were featured on FC Dallas' Twitter feed before the match showing off the shiny new rocks on their fingers! 

Ever since FC Dallas traded for Lletget, Becky G has been featured on the team's social channels often, a smart marketing move in my opinion. She's definitely among, if not the most famous fan. 

To that end, Becky G is a fan favorite by one of our digital producers, who inspired the idea behind our "Becky G forecast" match score. Stay tuned. 

Frisco Foodie Fun

This will only be featured in articles where there was a home match, but since I did not attend this match in-person, here's an introduction for what to expect. It's pretty simple: Reviewing the newest food items at Toyota Stadium throughout the season. Here is a list of them

Which ones should I try first? Tweet me your suggestions here.

#DTID Man of the Match

FC Dallas' pick: Paxton Pomykal. Pomykal had four shots, nine duels won and three interceptions.

PLG's pick: Maarten Paes. Paes made a handful of highlight reel saves to keep the potential of a win alive. The offense just wasn't there to compliment in match No. 1. 

What they said

Head Coach Nico Estévez
General thoughts on the match… 
Typical first game of the season. A little bit crazy, you can see some of the results that have happened and how some games have turned a little bit. I think, we did everything that we could on the side of effort, the fight, the desire to fight this game. But I think we rushed in the worst moments. I think we had some patience, building up when we broke lines then we rushed a little bit in the last pass, the last cross, the last decision. We didn’t do well.

Usually in the first games (when) this happens, there’s a lot of anxiety on the players. We had the post from Paxton, a couple crosses in the first half that didn’t finish in anything. We won the game on expected goals, 1 to .06, but at the end of the day, it’s to score and execute and we didn’t today.

For us, it's to get better because we had 11 shots but only one shot on target and we had eight shots from inside the box. Usually, you have to do better. I think we lack a little bit on quality on the last third today and this is why we couldn’t score goals.

Sometimes it’s not like you have to play the perfect game. It’s just to have the right execution up top and we didn’t have the day today.

Midfielder Tsiki Ntsabeleng

On Minnesota’s defensive shape…
“The space was mostly in front of their lines so it was tough to play in between them. That’s why I had the ball when I was in front of them as opposed to where I like to be—in between the lines. But you have to adjust to the demands of the game and I think I adjusted pretty well. Obviously, I would’ve loved to help the team more and create goal-scoring opportunities and be more dangerous but, like I said, they were really compact and made it difficult.”

Defender Ema Twumasi

On the inconsistency in the final third of the field…
“I think we got in good positions but the final ball was missing most of the time tonight. The final run was missing. It’s early in the season and we need to figure some stuff out. I’m sure it’ll be better next weekend.”

Midfielder Paxton Pomykal

On the chances created from set pieces…
“It’s a positive thing going into the rest of the season. Set pieces are a huge battle. Typically, teams with a positive goal differential on set pieces do really well in this league. Last year, we were one of the best teams in the league defensively. We tried to capitalize and score more goals offensively from set pieces. It’s something that I think we need to work on a little bit more this year.”

Defender Marco Farfan
On looking forward to facing LA Galaxy…
“We are at home for the next match, and the goal is always to get three points. We need to have a short memory and forget about this game. We have another important match coming up against LA Galaxy and we will fight to get the three points at home against a difficult team.”

Injury update

The only injury to note thus far is a pre-season injury: Tarik Scott, a recently-signed academy product, will miss the 2023 season due to an ACL and LCL tear.

Becky G forecast match score

Here it is ... each week, I'll rate the entire match day with one cumulative score of 1 through 5 "Becky Gs." 

The season opener gets only 1.5 Becky Gs. The match result left a lot to be desired, and there was not a food review to bring it up (sorry y'all, that's my fault). The pre-game fits and introduction of the Fan of the Match, however, bring up the score just a tad. 

What's next/8 ball prediction

FC Dallas takes on the LA Galaxy next on Saturday, March 4 in the first of its many themed drone show nights. For more information, click here.

"8 ball" bold prediction: For the first iteration, I'll make a season-long prediction. FC Dallas will have three players score 12-plus goals this season: Jesus Ferreira, Paul Arriola and Alan Velasco. Only two teams in MLS last season had three players score more than 10 apiece: Philadelphia and Cincinnati.

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