FC Dallas returned to winning ways down I-35 thanks to Jesus Ferreira’s seventh goal in four games at Q2 Stadium. With St. Louis falling to Chicago, Dallas moved to a point behind the expansion club in the Western Conference top four.
“Obviously a huge result,” said Paxton Pomykal. “I think derbies are always special to win but considering how poor our performance was on Wednesday away, we really wanted to respond and show that that’s not who we are. I think we did that tonight.”
Nico Estevez had a couple of returns and one more in the trainer’s room after the midweek trip to Nashville. Paul Arriola, and Nkosi Tafari returned to the bench after time out, but Geovane Jesus would miss out after limping off in the US Open Cup defeat.
With Geovane out, Ema Twumasi started at right back opposite Marco Farfan. Jose Martinez returned from suspension in the Open Cup to partner Sebastien Ibeagha, with Maarten Paes back in goal.
Facundo Quignon got the nod to six behind Paxton Pomykal and Sebastian Lletget. Alan Velasco made his first start since April 9th after returning in the cup game. The Argentine took up the left wing with Jader Obrian on the right. Jesus Ferreira led the line.
Both teams really spent much of the first half feeling each other out as either side struggled to get into the flow of the game. Sebastian Lletget started a move on the half hour that produced Dallas’ first big chance.
The former West Ham midfielder attempted to thread a pass to Jesus Ferreira, who had dropped back to midfield. The FCD striker flicked the ball over his shoulder for Jader Obrian to run onto. The Colombian stung the crossbar with a shot from distance, although there was an outlet to Alan Velasco that may have been a better percentage chance to score.
Ten minutes later Austin produced the game’s first shot on target. After Dallas pulled defenders into the box anticipating a long throw from the right, Jon Gallagher received the short throw with plenty of time to aim a cross at the back post. The ball cleared out to the edge of the area where Adam Lundkvist hammered a shot for the roof of the net that Maarten Paes was able to tip over.
The Huntsmen should have had the lead in the 53rd minute from the foot of the man who has tormented Q2 Stadium so frequently. Obrian ran onto a ball down the right flank. He cut back at the end line to find Jesus Ferreira unmarked in the middle of the goal nine yards out, but Ferreira’s first time effort cleared the bar.
The game started a little chippy after an early clash of heads between Jose Martinez and Julio Cascante. Sebastian Lletget and Alex Ring came together with the latter left with a shiner. The second half largely calmed down but Rodney Redes still found a way to pick up two yellow cards in the space of eight minutes either side of the Ferreira chance.
Coach Estevez went to his bench almost on the hour as Jose Martinez seemed to have a flare up of the issue where his muscles lock up. Coach described Martinez as losing power in his legs. Nkosi Tafari replaced the Spaniard while fellow returnee Paul Arriola came on for Sebastian Lletget.
The hosts sat deep, bringing on former FC Dallas forward Maxi Urruti in hope of hitting the Hoops on the break. Obrian remained a constant threat, pouncing on a poor clearance from Brad Stuver to give Paul Arriola a shot from the edge of the area through some traffic. The USMNT winger had the ball in the back of the next earlier, but Ismail Elfath made a frustrating call to pull back play for a foul on Alan Velasco after he completed a pass to send Dallas through to score.
Arriola’s struggles have been one of the overriding themes of 2023, but the winger seemed to be enjoying his chances in Austin. A 73rd-minute header glanced across the goal after some fantastic work from Velasco.
Back to the bench in 78th minute, Tsiki Ntsabeleng replaced Paxton Pomykal and Bernard Kamungo came in for Alan Velasco. Austin resident Elfath had just endeared himself to his hometown crowd moments earlier for playing on when a player in green made a meal of an innocuous challenge by Facundo Quignon in the Dallas box.
Velasco’s removal seemed to take the edge off the Dallas attack. Kamungo struggled with his early touches. FCD piled defensive players forward to get numbers alongside the Austin back five but the breakthrough came on a Dallas counter. Tsiki Ntsabeleng played Jesus Ferreira through from the midfield and the 22-year-old made no mistake in the 89th minute to break a 342-minute team scoring drought.
As Austin pushed for an equalizer, Arriola saw a confusing end to his night. The Dallas winger seemed to be bundled over in attempting a shot and stayed down for a while. Elfath opted not to let the trainers come on and restarted play with Arriola on the ground. The substitution board soon went up with Arriola to be replaced by Sam Junqua, but the FC Dallas captain first remonstrated about not awarding a foul or stopping play for his injury before reluctantly hobbling off the field with a pulled quad that Coach Estevez revealed would require an MRI.
FC Dallas comes back to Frisco for a game with Vancouver on Wednesday before the Texas Derby takes place on Saturday with Houston coming to town.