FC Dallas traveled down I-35 for their first Texas Derby match of the season. FC Dallas owned the series lead headed into Saturday's match, starting out hot with three straights wins, but had not beat the Verde and Black since. FC Dallas fell to Austin FC for the first time last season in the Western Conference semifinals.
Saturday's match was the first MLS regular season match for FC Dallas since the tragic shooting at the Allen Premium Outlets, merely 10 miles east of Toyota Stadium where the Toros play.
Texas Derby matches bring an extra sense of pride and intensity, and per tradition, this match was no different. Alan Velasco returned to the starting lineup for the first time in four matches, but Paul Arriola was listed on the bench with a minor muscle issue, according to FC Dallas reporter Garrett Melcer. Austin FC was without their best player, Sebastian Driussi, due to a groin injury.
Here's how things went in the Lone Star capital:
FC Dallas' Jader Obrian had the club's best chance in the first half, a shot off the crossbar from just inside the 18-yard box. Austin FC controlled the backend of the first half, however, with multiple dangerous chances at goal. Austin FC left back Adam Lundkvist forced Maarten Paes to make a highlight reel save to keep things level. Moments later, Alex Ring had a dangerous first time volley from a corner, and Emiliano Rigoni had a header that just missed the frame in stoppage time of the first half.
In the 54th minute, Rodney Redes got his second yellow card of the match within an eight-minute timespan and was disqualified, leaving Austin to play with 10 players.
Jesus Ferreira broke the deadlock in the 89th minute with his sixth goal of the season.
With the win, FC Dallas continues to be undefeated against Austin FC in the regular season. FC Dallas improves to 5-3-3 on the season.
FC Dallas honored the victims of the Allen outlet mall shooting by wearing "Allen Strong" armbands and a t-shirt in the pre-game.
FC Dallas is also launching a "Support for Allen" jersey auction, featuring match-worn and autographed jerseys. The club has information on how to auction on the jerseys here.
All of the proceeds from the jersey auction and t-shirt sales will go toward the Communities Foundation of Texas support fund for Allen, which will help local agencies in providing mental health, grief and trauma support in the wake of the shooting.
FC fit check
The club wore these FCD toro adidas shirts on the short plane ride. They're pretty simple, but still very slick. Headed into the stadium, FC Dallas stuck with the uniform look of wearing a branded polo.
Frisco Foodie Fun
Nothing to share. Tune in this upcoming Wednesday, though!
#DTID Man of the Match
When FCD needed a goal, America's striker delivered. Sometimes in these tight games, you just need a star to make a play and that's what Ferreira did. It was also Ferreira's seventh goal in five career games against Austin FC.
What they said
Head Coach Nico Estévez
General thoughts on the match…
“We played amazing today. We did not allow this attacking-oriented team to create danger up front. This is due to the players' performance. On Friday, I sat with a couple of the players and I informed them of the plan to contain Austin FC’s attack. We just needed the sacrifice of one player and (Sebastian) Lletget was the player who stepped up and took that responsibility. He worked hard, engaged in every battle and helped the team defensively. These are things that leaders tend to do and that is why we have him on the team because he is important to us. In the attack, we could’ve scored two or three. We had three shots on target and 13 shots total with 18 crosses. It’s not about the quantity but it is about the quality of things. We are coming from a difficult result against Nashville where we had a disappointing performance and result. We wanted to respond and bounce back today and all our guys deserve a lot of credit. We are building towards the way we want to play and be at and sometimes that can take long and is never easy. The guys have a strong mentality and we can respond to any adversity we have in front of us.”
On Jesús Ferreira 's performance…
“If he wants to raise his level to the top, he needs to have phenomenal physical performances. Pressing, running and fighting is what makes him different. He has the ability to keep repeating these actions at a high speed. The moment he does not do that, he loses that strength and power that he has. This is what we asked from him today and he delivered. He made runs behind the defender and he did not stop all night. Sometimes he scored and sometimes he does not, but today he put himself in a good position to score. It was the game-winning goal and I am very happy with his performance. These are the types of performances we demand from him because he is growing into that leadership role and when he encourages others, the team looks a whole lot better as a unit. He led by example tonight and I am glad he had this performance tonight.”
On Alan Velasco’s return…
“It’s great to have a full healthy roster, especially getting a player with special qualities like Alan (Velasco). He also helps provide pressure and fight to the team. It’s his first full game in a month and he showed some miscues but at the same time he showed danger in the attack for us. He put good crosses and had good one on one scenarios. He wanted to play more but we have three games this week and I told him we have to be smart about his minutes.”
Midfielder Paxton Pomykal
Thoughts on the game…
“Obviously a huge result. I think derbies are always special to win but considering how poor our performance was on Wednesday away, we really wanted to respond and show that that's not who we are. I think we did that tonight."
On the overall play against Austin…
"I think that there's still work to be done but the overall football today was much better: the connections were better, the passing was better. Really, really happy to get a goal. Clean sheets are obviously important as well in this league, especially on the road, so it's a collective effort to win."
Importance of getting the win during a heavy run of play in May…
"We have a lot of games this month so we're going to need everybody, the entire roster. The wins don't really mean anything if you don't follow them up, especially at home. Wednesday and Saturday are very important for us to build momentum on this one."
Midfielder Tsiki Ntsabeleng
On beating Austin…
"It's amazing, you know, especially after what we went through during the week. It was a tough week for us, but I think we are a team that has always responded. We responded very well tonight."
On subbing into the game in the 77th minute…
"It was high pace, high intensity. The instruction was to just bring energy and add more pressure and with (Austin) 10 men down you could take more risk and get a little bit more forward."
On how Rodney Redes’ red card changed the match…
"The game changed because you could see now they couldn't take as much and you were able to keep them in their half longer. If you do that to a team, they're likely to concede."
On Jesus Ferreira’s game-winner…
"Amazing. I'm not surprised that he did it. I'm just happy that he did it."
Estevez said Arriola's injury "doesn't look good." He said they need to double check, but Arriola likely pulled his quad. Outside of Arriola, a few players struggled with cramping due to the high minutes played this month.
What's next/8 ball prediction
FC Dallas hosts their first mid-week MLS regular season game of the 2023 season as they take on the Vancouver Whitecaps. TV information: Apple TV+ – MLS Season Pass – 7:30 p.m. CST.
"8 ball" bold prediction tracker:
FC Dallas will have three players score 12-plus goals this season: Jesus Ferreira, Paul Arriola and Alan Velasco.
- Ferreira: 6/12
- Arriola: 0/12
- Velasco: 2/12
Halfway there, Ferreira. I need the others to pick up the pace.
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