I love the US Open Cup. I love the history, the format and the fact that it’s a big, big trophy that you get to hoist over your head. The perks of qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions League is also a sweet deal. But ultimately for me, I love it because it gives a team like FC Dallas a chance for the fringe players to show their worth and that they not only belong on this team, but have earned their chance for more significant minutes too.
Last night, FC Dallas fans got the chance to see Reggie Cannon suit up for the first time with the senior team and he did not disappoint.
It’s Time for Cannon to Make the 18
At first glance, Cannon’s chalkboard is pretty tidy.
Cannon made a few runs forward, contributed a pair of key passes and did well to keep the ball moving for FC Dallas. Of course, there was this memorable run at the end of the 1st half that really show cased Cannon’s ability to get forward on the wing.
He was a little lucky to get past the first defender, but his second touch around the next defender was sublime. Cannon knew he had a good chance there to put Dallas up 2-0 with Colman unmarked and Craft wide open, as displayed by his disappointment after the run. But overall it was a great display of the tools and athleticism he can bring.
Defensively, Cannon was reliable and committed.
The chart alone doesn’t tell you very much other than he was pretty solid and did his job. Here are my two favorite parts and precisely why I think he’s MLS ready.
Cannon is isolated in a 1v1 situation and doesn’t panic. He doesn’t dive or take a rushed chance at a tackle. He keeps his position, his footing is light and inches closer to the attacker with every small step to make it more difficult for his opponent to get around him. Cannon does give up a corner in his scenario, but at this point, the most important thing was for him to not get beat and he did just that.
My next favorite clip of him doesn’t even involve him touching the ball at all. In the 67th minute, FC Dallas earned a corner and Cannon was tasked with cleaning up any loose clearances.
The ball ends up in Tulsa keeper, Fabian Cerda’s hands and Cerda immediately launches a quick counter. Now keep your eye on Cannon.
The end play is the ball gets launched for a field goal try and no harm done. Notice how quick Cannon’s reactions where once it was clear that possession had been turned over. He managed to keep in stride with the runner, while keeping his eye on the ball and maintaining good defensive positioning to not get beat.
It was a lung busting run and one that he did to perfection. Nothing he did in that sequence registers anywhere on the stat sheet, but I would bet his coaches noticed what Cannon did and how he prevented a goal scoring opportunity because he paid attention and committed his legs to the cause.
Naturally, doing this against an USL side is different than an MLS team, so nobody’s crowning Cannon with a starting position just yet. But with last night’s showing, he at least has signaled to Pareja that he deserves serious consideration for the 18 week in and week out.