Farrington fires FCD into Open Cup last 16

FC Dallas cleared the first hurdle in its attempt to win a third Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, defeating Memphis 901 1-0.

“It’s a fantastic and historic tournament,” said FC Dallas forward Logan Farrington. “I know the history around the Cup and I know what it means for the city and the club. It’s fantastic being able to score my first goal in this tournament and feeling the warmth and support of our fans after the goal. It’s amazing but it’s only the first step and we have more challenges ahead of us.”

Under pressure after the second worst ten-game start in franchise history, Nico Estevez didn’t leave anything to chance with his starting lineup. Four changes saw Jesus Ferreira and Asier Illarramendi return to the start. Tsiki Ntsabeleng and Herbert Endeley were the other changes with Ema Twumasi and PAul Arriola given the night off.

“The idea is that we’ll rotate some guys on Saturday in order to allow them to play a full game today and Saturday,” said Estevez of the thought behind his team selection. “I think it is important for us to keep building what we are doing and to play together as a team.”

The visitors came with two former FC Dallas academy players in their ranks. Emerson Hyndman got the start in midfield but Nighte Pickering had to settle for a place on the Memphis bench.

FC Dallas worked the width of the 3-4-3 in the early stages. Marco Farfan and Herbert Endeley pushed aggressively, supported by Sam Junqua and Sebastien Ibeagha spreading wide in the back three.

The problem came further up the field with the final ball as Memphis 901 dropped into a compressed 5-3-2. Jesus Ferreira dropped back in search of the ball, Petar Musa was left chasing long balls.

Nkosi Tafari had the first shot on target in first half stoppage time. Tsiki Ntsabeleng followed up on a corner with a cross in from the right wing. Tafari should have worked the keeper better with a free header from eight yards out.

Liam Fraser replaced Patrickson Delgado after the break. Delgado was lucky to stay on the field after a nasty two-footed challenge earned him a yellow card late in the first half.

Dallas tightened up their possession game and focused more towards the middle as Memphis 901 pressed forward. Petar Musa went close in the 52nd minute after being released by Jesus Ferreira on the Dallas left. The Croatian attempted to lift the ball over Tyler Deric. The former Houston keeper appeared to narrowly clip the ball over the bar, but referee Eduardo Jeff ruled the restart a goal kick.

Logan Farrington entered the game in place of Tsiki Ntsabeleng in the 65th minute, and Bernard Kamungo followed four minutes later, replacing Herbert Endeley. Nighte Pickering got his chance against his old club as part of a double substitution for Memphis 901 at the time of Farrington’s introduction.

A well worked set piece gave the Burn the lead in the 73rd minute as Logan Farrington delivered his first FC Dallas goal. Jesus Ferreira whipped in a free kick from the right side with the rookie forward racing past a static defensive line to control the ball before hammering the ball past Deric.

“Everyone thought there was supposed to be a whistle blown before Jesus [Ferreira] could take the free kick,” said goal scorer Farrington. “I noticed the defensive line of Memphis for the free kick were unorganized and I kept focusing on that so Jesus could catch that as well. We locked eyes and he played a perfect ball in to me. I was able to control it and keep it close to me so I could smash it into the back of the net.”

Coach Estevez made one final change with two minutes remaining, Carl Sainte replaced Jesus Ferreira. The Haiti international held a

Dallas pushed for a confidence-boosting second goal. Musa tested Deric twice as the USL Championship opposition sat back in hope of a breakaway equalizer. While they didn’t record a shot on target, Pickering did get his head on the end of a free kick deep in stoppage time, but the high ball was easily gathered by Maarten Paes.

FC Dallas will travel to either Birmingham or Tampa in two weeks time with a quarter final spot on the line. In the meantime it’s back to MLS action with Austin FC coming to town on Saturday.

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