The Moose makes an impact but Montreal take the points

FC Dallas fell to its first defeat of 2024 in a 2-1 loss to CF Montreal.

“I’m not happy with what I saw,” said Nico Estevez after the game. “We did not try what made us successful all of preseason and it hurt us tonight.”

The Moose was loose as Nico Estevez gave record signing Peta Musa his debut up front with Logan Farrington and Paul Arriola in support. Omar Gonzalez also made his bow for his hometown team with Sebastien Ibeagha picking up a calf injury last weekend. Herbert Endeley was the odd man out from the opening game as Bernie Kamungo dropped back to take his wing back spot.

FC Dallas shipped a first half lead for the second week in a row. Jules-Anthony Vilsaint was an early substitute after Kwadwo Opoku went down injured, but put his team up ion the 20th. Ruan blew by a Kamungo jog to receive the ball on the Montreal right. His cross pulled back to the top of the box, where Matias Coccaro took a touch to set up a low right-footed drive by Vilsaint.

Replacement officials haven’t had too many headlines so far but FC Dallas was denied a penalty in the 35th minute. At a Burn corner, Petar Musa took control of the rebound only for Vilsaint to lean on and shove the Croatian to the ground. Kyle Johnston waved play-on and a VAR check failed to catch the infraction.

“The referee observed both players challenging for the ball,” said referee Kyle Johnston in response to a pool question I submitted. “Petar Musa fell to the ground after normal contact from Jules Anthony.”

VAR did come to Dallas’ aid in first half stoppage time. In the first minute of added time, Asier Illarramendi played a ball over the top of the Montreal back line. Kamungo got in behind Ariel Lassiter to nod the ball down to Petar Musa for the debutant’s first goal in FC Dallas colors.

The flag initially went up but a lengthy VAR check awarded the goal to the hosts to send the sides into the break tied. After the game Omar Gonzalez revealed the offside call was against Musa, who was in an offside position for the initial pass to Kamungo, but behind the ball when he became active in receiving the assist.

Asier Illarramendi was a surprise no-show after the break as Patrickson Delgado started the second half for his competitive debut. The Basque midfielder had been in discomfort through the week and only played 45 minutes as a precaution.

Dallas pressed forward with Dante Sealy going close, but it was another first half sub putting the Canadian side ahead through Josef Martinez on the hour. Ruan broke down the Montreal right and played the former Atlanta United forward in behind Omar Gonzalez for his first goal with the Quebecers. The duo combined moments later with Martinez narrowly missed getting a toe on the ball off a slide.

Jesus Ferreira made his return from injury immediately after the goal to replace Logan Farrington. Paxton Pomykal would later get his first minutes of 2024 in place of Liam Fraser.

FC Dallas were millimeters away from drawing level in the 85th minute. A corner from the Dallas left found Eugene Ansah beyond the back post. The Ghanaian kept the play alive, heading back centrally where Nkosi Tafari powered a header at goal. Somehow Jonathan Sirois clawed the ball out of corner to his right.

Late on Johnston comically threatened to book Sirois seconds after Paul Arriola lumped a clearance out towards the corner for a goal kick with no chance of reaching a ball sooner.

Kamungo summed up the game as lacking intensity, but it really felt more disjointed than anything. Last week the wing backs combined for seven dribbles into the attacking third, this week that number was zero. The midfield produced 23 passes into the final third and three key passes, those numbers dropped to 15 and zero.

In comparison, Ruan and Ariel Lassiter executed the wing back role well. Defensively they forced the Dallas pair inside to confine FCD in possession, and out of possession they were effective in their press.

It’s off for the first away game of 2024 next weekend with a trip to the New York Red Bulls. Kenny Cooper and Carlos Ruiz got the goals in Dallas’ last win over the newly rebranded New York franchise at Giants Stadium in 2006. More recently the sides shared a goalless draw in 2022.

1 Comment

  1. Rough loss, frustrating defense, and weird awkward officiating kinda kept the game feeling disjointed and like there was no real flow. But I like the more exciting style of play than the last couple years and I can’t wait to see what we can do once guys get time to gel and play together!

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