FC Dallas continued their "culture of winning" on Sunday night, defeating the Houston Dynamo 1-1(5-3 on penalties) to win the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic.
The starting lineup from Dallas was a bit changed from the Thursday semifinal win over Orlando City with Brek Shea starting at center back in place of Zach Loyd, one of four Dallas center backs to miss the game due to injury. Andrew Jacobson moved into the center of midfield while Eric Alexander took Shea's spot on the left wing and Ruben Luna started up front
It was Luna who would open the scoring 15 minutes into the game The with his looping header from a Marvin Chavez cross finding the back of the net over Tally Hall. From that point on, Dallas would rarely challenge the Houston goal again with Eric Alexander not offering a whole lot going forward on the left side and Ferreira still struggling to find his 2010 form.
Houston would knock on the door multiple times late in the first half and throughout the second half without much success until Francisco Navas Cobo let rip in the 88th minute scoring a wondergoal from well outside the box giving the outstretched Chris Seitz no chance.
Seitz would deliver for FCD in the penalty shootout, however, saving Sheldon Palmer's poor penalty while Ferreira, Galindo, Avila, Guarda and Shea would score their 5 penalties giving Dallas the Mickey Mouse Cup.
Read on for observations, highlights, quotes and links
A great overall response from Dallas after the debacle in Corpus Christi. Full credit to the team for a really nice, gritty performance tonight. It was a bit rough around the edges, but Dallas got the job done against a team that embarrassed them a few weeks ago. Clear progress has been made which is what you want to see through the pre-season.
This team is going to be very tough to score on. It took a 30 yard goalazo bomb to score on an FCD backline of Brek Shea and Scott Gordon. Think about that for a second. Jacobson and Hernandez might not offer a whole lot going forward, but when Ugo and John are back paired together with Jacobson and Danny in the midfield I just can't see many opposition goals being scored. With three of their top four center backs out, Dallas played 4 games and allowed 2 goals. Speaking of Jacobson...
After watching the game last night, there could be a battle brewing for the starting center midfield spot. Eric Alexander has been fairly poor so far this pre-season, in the games I've seen, and it's going to be very interesting to see if Jacobson can take the spot away from him.
Regarding Scott Gordon and Maykel Galindo...I mentioned in the pre-game thread to watch these two as they're on the bubble right now and I think Scott Gordon has done enough to make the team. He played all 180 minutes of the tournament and never looked out of place. That's good enough, at least for now, to get him on the squad. The only thing that could thwart his efforts would be if Schellas decides to bring in Leone Cruz, SMU grad who just got cut by Seattle. I'll probably have a post about this later, but don't be surprised if Cruz is brought to Arizona.
Galindo, on the other hand, is too close to call. He was pretty invisible last night, not completely his fault mind you, but I think he'll at least go to Arizona and have more chance to prove himself. He got 45 minutes last night and didn't really help his cause though which was a bit disappointing.
Ruben Luna was fantastic. Playing against what was a mostly 1st choice defensive unit for Houston, Luna was the most dangerous player on the pitch for Dallas scoring a typical Luna poachers goal while also hitting the crossbar on another chance. It's going to be fun watching this guy score against Houston for the next 5 years.
“I hope this year will be the best year ever for me,” Luna told MLSsoccer.com. “I’m really thankful that the coaching staff trusted me enough to put me in this game. And I’m really glad I scored.
“I’ve just got to go in, work hard and keep on scoring to gain that confidence from the coaching staff so I can keep playing more.”
What's next for FC Dallas? Tomorrow is a much needed day off for the squad before heading to Phoenix on Tuesday. Dallas will play Montreal Impact on Wednesday and New York next Monday before coming home for the final phase of pre-season with the final charity game against Chivas USA on March 12 before the curtain raiser on March 19 at home against Chicago...can't come fast enough.