Anyone watching FC Dallas’ home opener on Saturday night against Real Salt Lake likely saw a few noticeable things. The new home kits, the return to a 4-2-3-1 formation, the south end of the stadium looking closer and closer to being finished. But one performance stood out for me above the rest and that was of second-year midfielder Jacori Hayes who filled in for the injured Kellyn Acosta.
Hayes had the type of performance in the midfield that can excite folks like myself. Not only was it a full 90 performance out of the young man but it was one that showed the central midfield competition may be one of the toughest on the team right now.
“I wanted to have a good performance after the Red Bull match last year… To try and go the full 90 this time,” said Hayes. “I was proud of my performance. I tried to help the team as best I could.”
The best he could brought praise from head coach Oscar Pareja as well.
“Today he looked like a veteran,” said Pareja following the 1-1 draw against RSL. “It was amazing to see his personality and the way the ball flowed through him. I am very happy with Jacori’s performance.”
Hayes brought a calming presence to the midfield on Saturday. His distribution was about as good as you could have hoped for out of a guy that is competing for a full-time starting role. Judging by his passing stats, he brought exactly what FC Dallas needs in the midfield.
For me, seeing a lot of successful passes that go forward into the attack is a positive sign of things to come for this team. Hayes is putting himself into the attack and helping a guy like Mauro Diaz be freed up to create more chances for Maxi Urruti, Michael Barrios and Santiago Mosquera.
“It’s good we’re creating those chances,” said Hayes. “They’ll start to fall for us eventually. I have no doubt about our players being able to finish. It’s at least a good sign that we are creating all these opportunities.”
Hayes made the most of his opportunity this past weekend in my book. What did you think about how game on Saturday? Let us know below.