FC Dallas players talk about facing their former manager Luchi Gonzalez
For the Dallas Homegrown players, this weekend's game has added meaning.
Saturday’s game in San Jose for FC Dallas will not only be about picking up three points and securing the club’s third road win of the 2023 season, but it will also mark the first time the club is getting to see former manager Luchi Gonzalez.
Gonzalez was let go of his manager post during the 2021 season with eight games to go, during a time when the club was not performing as well as it could have after two straight playoff appearances under Gonzalez in 2019 and during a COVID-shortened 2020 season.
Now Gonzalez is with the San Jose Earthquakes and has done a remarkable job turning a team that finished last in the Western Conference last season into a playoff contender in 2023. Part of that turnaround is due to the identity that Gonzalez has established in San Jose and his willingness to turn to younger talent as he did in Dallas, thanks to his familiarity with the Homegrown players that came up through the academy.
“Toward the end of last year, I think San Jose started to have a clearer identity on the attacking side,” said FC Dallas manager Estevez. “I think with Luchi coming in, it helped the team be more compact and defend better. This is helping them get the points that they have already, and they’re a very difficult opponent to face.”
For Homegrown players Jesus Ferreira, Paxton Pomykal and Edwin Cerrillo, facing Gonazlez has special meaning to each player due to their connections with him over the years on the academy side and up to the first team.
“Luchi is a guy and person that I’ve known for a while,” said Ferreira. “We have a special connection. Playing under him in the academy and then on the first team, now facing him will be something that is nice and I am looking forward to. It is exciting to see him be successful in the league and have a good run.”
Pomykal echoed Ferreira’s sentiments, citing how he’s happy to see Gonzalez doing well with the Quakes.
“It will be awesome,” said Pomykal. “I had him in the academy for a while and learned a lot from him. I’m happy to see him doing well with San Jose. They’ve done some things differently to turn their team around this year. So it will be a fun battle.”
And Cerrillo discussed how it was strange seeing Gonzalez in a place that wasn’t Dallas.
“I think it should be exciting since all he was ever known for was FC Dallas, like me,” said Cerrillo. “Now, to see him somewhere else is kind of strange, but he is doing good in San Jose.”
The trio hopes to extend FC Dallas’ current unbeaten run to five games as well as end a drought against the Quakes at PayPal Park that extends back to the 2016 season.
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