Last night at FCD Stadium, FC Dallas and Liga MX side Club Leon played to a super-entertaining 3-3 draw in front of nearly 10,000 pro-Leon fans. If you want a straight game recap, head here then come back for my thoughts from the game.
Really Fun Game This was a friendly that I think Schellas Hyndman and FCD will be very, very pleased with. It's just really fun to watch an open end-to-end game that you see in friendlies where the chains can be taken off a little bit. Things were a little chippy in the first 20 minutes or so with Leon reserves starting the game and wanting to impress, but a series of yellow cards curbed that and things really opened up afterward.
In the second half, Leon brought their starters in and what followed was a thoroughly entertaining half with four goals and a fun penalty shootout.
Leyva's night Last night was a big one for Bryan Leyva getting a chance to impress and I think you saw everything that makes him great and frustrating in the first 45 minutes. The Mexican winger was almost non-existent through the first 20 minutes, not really working on either side of the ball but when given the chance he sent in a great cross that FCD scored from. After that he had a nice 10 minute flurry where he was very involved in the game and a major offensive threat.
But that's the problem isn't it? I think he's certainly done enough to be a legitimate offensive spark off the bench in matches where FCD needs a goal, but now nearing the end of his fourth year with FC Dallas, he's still not 90 minutes fit. If he was, he'd probably be a starter in the league, because the talent is there.
Back Four It was nearly a first choice back four last night for FCD with only Zach Loyd getting the night off. Schellas Hyndman singled out Hernan Pertuz after the match as a key contributor and I certainly agree with him. Pertuz had some nice crosses and kept the dynamic Leon wingers off the board for the most part. What an asset to have around and at a fairly cheap price too.
Fantastic Effort Overall In these friendly matches, you want to send the crowd home impressed with you and I think FC Dallas did that tonight. With mostly the back end of the reserves in the game late in the match against the Leon starters, FCD pulled a goal back late to make things 3-3 and just showed a ton of fight. Really really great to see
Matias Jara's night Last night marked the debut of Argentine forward Matias Jara and I thought he did alright. There wasn't a whole lot of touches on the ball for Jara who tended to drift out wide, but you saw his quality late in the match. Jara was able to get on the end of Ricaro Villar's corner in the 83rd minute and put a nice header on goal that flicked off Warshaw and in for the equalizer. With reserve games coming up on Tuesday and then a week from Tuesday, he will have more chance to work to fitness. Still a long way to go though...
Leon's players Schellas noted earlier this week that Dallas would be taking a look at a few of the Leon players in this match and I liked what I saw from just about everyone. Leon's reserves played the first half with starters coming in for the second half and you could certainly see the difference in quality. Two guys I really liked were their wingers, Colombians Eisner Loboa and Hernan Burbano. They were both extremely quick, especially Loboa and reminded me a bunch of Fabian Castillo.
If we want to shoot for the moon, Uruguayan forward Sebastian Maz would score a bunch of goals in MLS and had a delightful chip over Chris Seitz for the second Leon goal. I'm not sure FCD could afford him though. Two other guys I liked were Edgar Pacheco and Othoniel Arce.
Scattershooting Even if it was heavily pro-Leon, the crowd was very respectful of FCD and cheered for both teams after the game...Amazing how when yellow cards are shown for kicks on Ferreira early in the match, the game opens up...Hilarious dance from Jair Benitez after his PK and backflip from Bruno Guarda after his...time to get ready for Saturday vs Vancouver.