Zdenek “Kobra” Ondrasek had a carefully planned start to 2020 up until COVID-19 presented a significant change.
In the season preview show for 3rd Degree The Podcast, we revealed that Kobra was due to miss the start of the season with a minor surgery. Plans thankfully changed as Ondrasek scored Dallas’ opening goal in a 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union.
In a conference call, Ondrasek explained the scheduling behind the dental surgery that eventually took place prior to the scheduled game away to New York City FC.
Ricardo Pepi would have started at Yankee Stadium but for Major League Soccer being forced to postpone the season the morning the team was due to depart for New York.
The Czech striker suffered an oral injury at 15, which resulted in a dental bridge. Playing soccer in his hometown, Ondrasek and a group of friends filled in holes in a field and left a wheelbarrow next to the goal.
“We were playing, I ran and shot, and I lost my balance,” said Ondrasek. “When I was falling down, I turned my head and hit [the wheelbarrow] with my teeth.”
Ondrasek explained that four of his upper teeth were immediately lost, with a further two teeth dying later from the injury.
“So that was the first trauma,” continued Ondrasek. “The second trauma was that my dentist didn’t want to do it, so we had to drive a hundred kilometers [for the surgery].”
The bridge sustained damage over the course of Ondrasek’s career, but in the preseason a prosthetic tooth broke leaving Kobra and FC Dallas with a decision on when to schedule the surgery which would see Ondrasek miss a week and a half.
Initially I had been told that the surgery would take place in the run up to opening day. Ondrasek explained that the possibility of having the surgery through March’s international break came up, but Ondrasek found out he would be selected for the US-based games against Mexico and Honduras. Those selections, with Euro 2020 on the horizon, were vital to be a part of.
The eventual decision was that Ondrasek would undergo surgery in Irving on March 9, prior to FC Dallas’ game with NYCFC. In some way the current shutdown worked in the Czech’s favor as he did not miss any game time with FC Dallas. It did result in an extra week of social distancing as the 31-year-old recovered at home before his team mates were forced to stay away from Toyota Stadium as part of MLS’ training moratorium.
FCD’s Kobra has his bite and smile back, as well as his bromance with now-Nashville forward Dom Badji.
“Dominique badji was laughing at me,” said Ondrasek. “He said, ‘Hey, MLS heard that you had a surgery and they don’t want to play without you so they postponed the season’.”