FC Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez
Opening thoughts on tonight’s match...Number one: have to be happy with the win. It’s the right way to start the season and our objectives. I thought we were ready. We had a good preseason.
I felt the energy was fantastic. At halftime, we had some clarity on some simple things that could change this game and the boys did that. Credit to [Zdenek Ondrasek] to create a goal out of almost nothing. That’s not an easy goal to score. But more credit to “Kobra” to get two or three clearances in our box and to help us defend and get behind the ball. We need all our guys to help us win and be a solution at any moment.
Look at young man Tanner [Tessmann] just coming into the picture here in preseason and earning the opportunity tonight and taking advantage of it. [I’m] really proud of him and I’m proud of the group, because the group embraced him, helped him, supported him and believed in him. They showed it and that’s why they’re there for each other.
I always want to value shots on target more. But we need to generate more. We need to generate more shots and crosses in the open play. We need to be critical in terms of controlling more of the game and having more of the ball.
Thank you to our fans. The energy was phenomenal on Opening Night. To feel their energy [that] pushed us, it helped us a lot.
On switching the formation to 3-5-2...[Philadelphia] played a double nine, so we found ourselves two versus two on the backline. Thiago was doing a good job of helping the center backs, Tanner as well, but we just needed cover behind, so we went into three center backs. That allowed Ryan and Reggie to be a little more divided to get pressure on the ball up the field.
On Fafa Picault’s performance tonight...Fafa had great energy. He was good in the press, good in the recoveries. Offensively, he tried to get in those duals in behind and get services. It was almost there. I know he wants to give more offensively, but he was very important for us tonight.
On Zdenek Ondrasek’s performance...Kobra has been very focused to just be the best today for the club. I know that [it is] a dream for him to represent Czech Republic. I know that it is an important objective of his, but he knows that doing that is by doing the best for FC Dallas today. We really appreciate him and his mentality. We support him to go [to the Euro’s]. When he is gone, it will be tough, but we have to have a solution in the group to step it up. We have players that can play at the nine: Jesus, Pepi and even Fafa. Franco Jara is going to come in the summer. I believe in this group to have someone step up in there. I’m proud when these guys go to the national team. I don’t want to lose them, but it is my job to develop and compete.
FC Dallas forward Zdenek “Kobra” Ondrasek
On his opening goal…You can’t score if you don’t try. It bounced perfectly and I just closed my eyes and hit it. And I hit it well, I guess.
How important was it to score and maintain last season’s momentum…I don’t know how important it was for me, of course I wanted to score, and we wanted to win. Everyone knows that it was so important to win because it wasn’t our best game. We were struggling a little bit, we didn’t have many chances in the first half. In the second half we were almost just defending. Sometimes you have bad games but it’s important to win these games anyway. Everyone knows it has to be better.
How important was tonight’s win to start the season…If you want to be the best and play at the top you have to win. We remembered last year againt New England it was 0-0 and it looked like preseason. We are happy that we won, it’s what we wanted. But like I said, it has to be better.
FC Dallas midfielder Tanner Tessman
Thoughts on debut….It felt great. Those guys behind me, my teammates, had my back. They gave me confidence. For me, it was a normal game. The fans were greta. They gave us energy and we got the win and that’s what we wanted to do and start the season strong. Now, we look forward to next week.
On playing at Toyota Stadium as a first-team player…It was amazing. It was a dream come true. I’ve been working hard for four years to get this opportunity and it finally came. I think I took advantage of it and our team did great. I gotta give them credit because they gave me confidence. They gave me the ball and believed in me so give the credit to FC Dallas.
On recording his first assist with Paxton’s goal…I just made that sprint to get in front of Pax because I knew he needed support. He played me a ball and he’s a great player. He made a double move, came behind my shoulder and I left the ball and he put it in the net. All credit to Pax, he was great coming on and changed the game. That’s what we needed from our subs and now we move forward.
How preseason helped him be ready for the game…I think the preseason definitely helped me in this moment. I played against Inter Miami and Philly already, so that was great to kind of get the feel of it. This was just another game. The first couple of games on the trip were nerve-racking but they gave me confidence and now I am where I am. The trips were amazing and great experiences but now we move forward.
FC Dallas midfielder Paxton Pomykal
On how important it was to get a win in season opener...Oh, it’s massive. It’s a massive start to the season. I don’t think we played our best, but we won so, keep our health is really important. It’s better to get points and to win it’s great to shut out opponents but also even though we didn’t play that great in my opinion winning just feels great.
On his goal and Tanner Tessmann assisting him... Tanner literally did his entrance physical yesterday and started today so all props to him for being confident, coming in, we all had his back and he delivered a professional performance from a guy that’s on the team so hat’s off to him for an assist in his first game is great. I thanked him earlier for giving it to me but yeah I just saw space in front of me so I took it and I don’t know I don’t really remember exactly how it happened, I knew that I just wanted to put it on target and it just barely trickled in so, yeah.
On how he feels after recovering from offseason surgery... I feel great. A 10 right now. Adrenaline. Yeah, it’s all about reps now and this was really my first week full training. Even had a conversation with Luchi on Wednesday about just basically relaying information that I wanted to be on the roster this weekend and that I felt great heading in to Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and that’s the conversation we had. He really stressed to me and it’s hard to put a player in an important game like that when we’re winning 1-0. I didn’t even get any minutes in preseason, so for him to have that trust in me means a lot and to get a goal and to score that at the back of the net is really cool.