FC Dallas threw away a win in the dying seconds of its opening Leagues Cup game in a frustrating end to a strange opening to the competition at Toyota Stadium.
“It is disappointing to see that we tied a game that we should have won and especially in penalty kicks,” said FC Dallas head coach Nico Estevez. “We were not as confident when it came to shooting them and it reflected on the field.”
FCD put out a stronger team than you’d expect from a midseason break, not that there’s a lot of depth for Coach Estevez to choose from.
Jesus Ferreira returned from the All-Star Game to start, flanked by Jader Obrian and Bernard Kamungo. Fluidity was the name of the game as 8s, Alan Velasco and Sebastian Lletget, switched in and out of the attack with Facundo Quignon anchoring the midfield.
Nkosi Tafari, Sebastien Ibeagha, Marco Farfan, and Geovane Jesus took up their places ahead of Jimmy Maurer.
Maarten Paes missed the game after a recent bereavement. There were returns to the squad for Ema Twumasi, Paxton Pomykal, and Paul Arriola.
After some oddly timed 1990s indoor soccer music clips died down, FC Dallas opened up a couple of good opportunities. A chance almost broke for Jesus Ferreira in the Charlotte area, winning Dallas a corner. Bernard Kamungo should have done better with his one-on-one chance in the 9th minute after racing onto a poor back pass from Jaylin Lindsey. Kristijan Kahlina did enough to prevent Kamungo dribbling round him, allowing Jan Sobociński time to recover.
The best accidental assist almost happed in the 37th minute as Jader Obrian sliced an attempted shot from the left side of the box all the way to Kamungo on the right side, who stung the keeper’s hands with left-footed volley.
Kamungo would go on to give Dallas the lead in first half stoppage time. Marco Farfan pumped a teasing ball down the left that Jader Obrian outmuscled his marker to win. Obrian found Jesus Ferreira in the center, and with the shot looking likely despite defensive pressure, Ferreira laid off for Kamungo’s late run on the right. The Abilene forward swept the ball home for his fourth goal of the year.
Dallas should have doubled the lead just 20 seconds into the second half. Jesus Ferreira intercepted a pass in the Charlotte midfield and fed Obrian for a run down the left. The Colombian cut back and looked in a great position to shoot, but took a few too many touches before squaring a pass for Alan Velasco, whose shot was blocked low by Kahlina in the visitors’ net.
Scott Arfield picked up a yellow card with a lunge from behind on Facundo Quignon. Referee Jorge Camacho had been a little shy to find his whistle as both teams could get away with common assault. He soon followed that up with one for Andrew Privett for a shirt pull – possibly recognition that the 30-year-old LigaMX referee lost control through parts of the first half.
Camacho earned the modest crowd’s ire once again in the 59th minute, awarding a penalty after Karol Swiderski clearly stepped on the ball after dodging a challenge from Nkosi Tafari. The Pole sent Maurer the wrong way with a stutter-step.
Former Rangers midfielder Arfield was unlucky not to give the Queen City the lead with a nice shot from outside the box that Swiderski ducked to avoid. Standing in an offside position directly in front of Maurer, the linesman’s flag rightly went up to cancel out the 65th minute goal.
The disallowed effort brought about the first batch of substitutes for FC Dallas. Edwin Cerrillo replaced Facundo Quignon and Tsiki Ntsabeleng came in for Jader Obrian.
The Hooped pair had barely been on for a few seconds when all hell broke loose in the Charlotte box. Geovane Jesus was lucky to only escape with a yellow card. The Brazilian went down easily, with Ferreira shoving Ashley Westwood away from his fellow Jesus. Westwood and Geovane got into a shoving match with the Dallas defender putting two hands around the former Aston Villa and Burnley midfielder’s throat.
Da Boi is back! Dallas took the ball straight up field after Sebastian Lletget cleared away a Charlotte chance. Bernie Kamungo ran the ball into the box, and almost into three defenders. The Tanzanian slipped a short pass toward the end line as Lletget made a sweeping wide run before curling the ball around the keeper with his left foot in the 75th minute.
Lletget later revealed that was a run pattern that had been a focus in training.
Sam Junqua got a cameo appearances in the 79th minute, replacing Geovane Jesus. The former Houston man has expressed a preference for playing on the right, and got his wish. Two more followed in the 86th as Jose Martinez came in for Bernard Kamungo, and Eugene Ansah replaced Alan Velasco. The latter moves dropped the team into a 3-4-3 with Ansah up front and Ferreira on the left wing.
Just prior to the double substitution, Alan Velasco broke free down the right but picked out a poor pass when his pace wasn’t enough. Jesus Ferreira then had his own run, forcing a reaction save by Kahlina. Ferreira ignored an inviting gap at the front post.
The Huntsmen had a golden opportunity for a third deep in stoppage time as Jesus Ferreira and Eugene Ansah led a two-against-one break away. The lone defender stood up Ferreira, who played back to Tsiki Ntsabeleng. Despite Ansah being completely unmarked a couple of yards from goal, The South African attempted a shot from the top of the box, and could only find the blue seats the behind the south end goal.
Charlotte capitalized on the mistake within seconds, winning a free kick 30 yards from goal. Westwood looped a ball close to the end line, with Ben Bender outpacing Edwin Cerrillo before finishing from a tight angle to send the game to a penalty shootout.
Ashley Westwood won the coin toss, as the stadium emptied out only to see fans turn around upon a stadium announcement about the extra point shootout, and elected to take the shootout to the empty north end of the stadium. They’d also have the first opportunity with Swiderski once again stepping up to the spot before powering his effort past an outstretched Maurer.
Lletget saw his penalty saved well before a dire effort by Marco Farfan was easily held. Jesus Ferreira finally got Dallas on the board, but Charlotte went four-for-four to win the shootout and move ahead of FC Dallas with two points in the standings,
It’s a quick turnaround with Necaxa in Frisco on Tuesday night at 8:30pm.