It has been a long time coming for the Home Grown group at FC Dallas. The group of Ruben Luna, Bryan Leyva, Victor Ulloa, Moises Hernandez, Richard Sanchez and Jonathan Top have all been patiently waiting for their time to shine.
Each of the six Home Growns have made the top 18 for a game at least once in their careers - and only Hernandez has failed to make a top 18 for a game this season. Levya made his debut earlier in the season and last night Top received his time to shine on the big stage.
"It means a lot. It means a lot for any of the younger guys to get playing time," said Top. "Whenever one of us gets time, we are all happy for one another. We've worked hard for it and we are always pushing each other. We just need to be ready whenever that time comes."
The last line there really rings true for this group. Levya got called into action due to injuries earlier in the season while Top received some playing time due to both injuries and suspensions.
But neither were called up just because manager Schellas Hyndman needed a fresh pair of legs, both worked hard and earned their chances.
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Top was all smiles after the game. Even though the club didn't win you could get a sense of just how happy this kid was to get his moment in a MLS regular season game.
"It felt good to get those first minutes in against Salt Lake. We weren't able to get the win, but everyone worked hard and now we have to focus on our match Saturday against L.A.," said Top.
Top played with confidence and even tested the vaunted Real Salt Lake defense a couple of times late in the game. There was one chance where he drew out defender Nat Borchers at the top of the penalty box. Top sent in a gutsy ball into the box but Fabian Castillo was unable to get on the end of it.
The 19-year old did exactly as he was told, test the defense.
"He [Hyndman] said just to play with confidence and work hard - make it difficult for them to play out of the back. That's what I tried to do," said Top.
While Top and FC Dallas didn't get the win last night, it showed that the future is still very bright for the club. It has taken a little while longer for this crop of Home Grown Players to make their mark with the club but with each opportunity they are stepping up. That is something FC Dallas fans have to be happy with.