FCD played their last game of the first phase of pre-season before heading to Orlando, defeating SMU 3-1.
Dallas fielded as close to their starting XI as possible right now(Hartman, Jackson, Loyd, Pradie, Benitez, D. Hernandez, Alexander, Chavez, Shea, Ferreira, Rodriguez) and stuttered out of the gates. It was Loyd and Hernandez' first action of the pre-season and you could tell everyone is still shaking the rust off.
SMU got on the board first 15 minutes into the game with a nice combination of passes eventually ending up at the feet of Artur Ivo(I think, it's tough to know for sure as SMU didn't have numbers on their backs) who slotted past Hartman from close range.
From then on, it was all Dallas. As Marvin Chavez and Brek Shea finally started to break off their early pre-season rust. FCD tied the score soon after the SMU goal as Benitez and Shea would combine to free up some room down the left side. Brek sent in a pinpoint cross to Milton Rodriguez who made no mistake with his header past Juan Robles in goal for SMU.
The second half featured a completely new XI for Dallas, with Maykel Galindo and Ruben Luna combining up front in an attacking lineup(Chris Seitz, Andrew Wiedeman (Victor Ulloa 70), Bobby Warshaw, Scott Gordon, Moises Hernandez, Eric Avila, Bruno Martins (Bim Ogunyemi 70), Bruno Guarda, Bryan Leyva (Alexis Pradie 70), Maykel Galindo (Peri Marosevic 70), Ruben Luna).
Keep reading for the rest of the game recap and game observations
Luna put Dallas ahead near the hour mark, scoring a wonderful individual goal. The Mexican U20 international received the ball about 25 yards from goal, held off a couple of SMU defenders and blasted past Robles. It was a glimpse of what has everyone at FC Dallas so high on Luna.
Ruben had a major hand in the third and final goal slotting a nice through ball to Bim Ogunyemi who carried it into the penalty area and cooly finished underneath the rushing keeper. A very nice moment for the young guy who showed a lot more in his 20 minutes tonight than he did against the Dynamo.
Not a good first 20 minutes for the starters, but they finally started to shake the rust off late. SMU was every bit the equal of Dallas through the first 15 or 20 minutes, but once Shea and Chavez started to get going things looked up. These guys are just so key to the Dallas success this year.
Speaking of Chavez...Dude was all over the place in the first half providing the massive work rate that had Schellas dropping some serious coin to bring him back in 2011. On multiple occasions, Chavez relentless work creating steals providing Dallas with scoring chances. "The son of the wind" indeed.
Ruben Luna is really good. It's always interesting to see Luna play against college players, especially SMU where he was scheduled to attend before signing with FCD. While he still has a little trouble putting it all together against MLS-caliber defenders, he's a star against college teams. Luna changed the game for Dallas and provided the quality they needed to get the win.
Galindo getting fitter. He's still obviously not back to his level of a couple years ago, but he showed a couple of flashes last night that the rust may be starting to come off just a bit. Seeing as Dallas will not play another game in Frisco until the March 12 pre-season finale against Chivas USA, it's going to be extremely interesting how the Cuban gels with the team away from home before getting his last chance to impress against his old team.
Pradie still not up to pace. Schellas interestingly singled him out as a guy who has been performing well, but he's been responsible for goals in both games I've seen and I just don't see him having enough to make the squad. His pedigree is good, but it just seems this is a step too far for him.
Now the real work begins. When watching these early season games, I have to remind myself this team is still in the extremely early part of pre-season. These first couple of weeks are all about the rookies doing whatever they can to prove their worth while the vets just ramp things up slowly. It's against the MLS teams in Orlando and Arizona that the real work begins for the first team.
Great crowd last night. Wow, that had to be the most people I've seen at an FCD pre-season home game outside of the stadium. Easily a couple hundred people out there and fairly vocal too, very cool to see. I know some of you read this site so comment and let me know what you saw from the game.
I'll have quotes from Schellas and SMU coach McClements up late tonight.