FC Dallas played their next to last scrimmage in Dallas tonight defeating the Southern Methodist University Mustangs 4-0 at Westcott Field on the SMU campus. For the first time this season, FCD put out an almost full strength starting lineup with SMU graduates Ugo Ihemelu and Daniel Hernandez seeing their first playing time this year.
The scoring got started in the sixth minute as Panamanian forward Blas Perez played a fantastic through ball to a streaking Andrew Wiedeman on the right side of the box. Wiedeman controlled and fired a high, hard shot past Jaime Ibarra in goal to give Dallas the 1-0 lead.
After spurning a couple chances, Perez would grab his goal about 15 minutes later as a deep, lofted cross was headed home low and to the corner past Ibarra.
The second half was more disjointed with Dallas scoring a third goal off some really nice work from trialist Dogba. He barely kept the ball in on the right side and crossed to Jeison Quinonez who tapped home easily. The fourth goal was scored on a really nice individual effort from Bryan Leyva. The homegrown player stole the ball in midfield, beat a couple defenders and slotted past Devin Cook in goal for SMU to round out the scoring.
Jump for a bunch of impressions including the 4-4-2 lineup
Different lineup tonight Tonight, FC Dallas lined up in a 4-4-2 with Perez up top and Castillo playing just off of him, Wiedeman and Shea manned the wings with Jacobson and Hernandez in the midfield. It was a formation that worked out really well as Castillo and Perez took turns coming deep to receive the ball filling the gap that was created at the top of the midfield.
Fantastic fluid play Perhaps it was because I was able to sit in elevated stands to see the play better tonight, but the movement was just fantastic from Dallas tonight. They finally looked like a team out there that knew what they wanted to do and the interplay between Castillo, Perez and Shea was impeccable. The moment of the match was a jaw-dropping 1-2 combination between Shea and Perez releasing Shea for a shot that was chipped wonderfully over Ibarra and bounced off both posts. Everyone in the stadium thought it was in and I'd bet money it was, but no goal was given.
Blas rounding into form I think we're beginning to see Blas Perez coming into his own as he gets fitter. He was everywhere tonight, linking up well with Shea & Castillo while he should've probably had 2 or 3 goals. The headed goal was a think of beauty and a goal from a half chance that you'll see from him in MLS play.
Brek Shea The blonde bomber definitely looked more of himself tonight. Perhaps it was the nice weather or fast pitch, whatever it was he showed the form that saw him rise to stardom in MLS last season. It's really a shame that he won't be able to join Dallas in Orlando as he'll be with the U23's.
Wiedeman making a statement This guy is just scoring goals for fun right now. It says a great deal that Schellas started him out at right mid with the starters tonight and he's really on the brink of making an impact in MLS. The talent is there, he just needs more time to get used to right mid and more confidence. Hopefully it happens for him here before he is forced to move onto another MLS team.
Second half A pretty meh second half as the team was a fairly disjointed mix of trialists and reserves. Dogba had a little something down the right while Scott Sealy and Jeison Quinonez each kind of did their own thing up top. The player that impressed was Brian Leyva. More on him from Schellas but his goal was very nice and the kid is developing well. You just wish he could grow about 3 inches and gain about 15 pounds of muscle.
Final thoughts Without a doubt, the first half was the best the team has looked in pre-season. They played with a purpose, very skillful interplay and decent finishing. A friendly against Tulsa and then the extremely important trip to Orlando is all that stands between this team and the regular season.