Last night in Stockholm, Cristiano Ronaldo captivated the soccer world with a heart-stopping hat trick, single-handedly punching Portugal's ticket to World Cup 2014 in Brazil in a 3-2 win over Sweden. While Frisco, Texas is about as far from a UEFA World Cup Qualifier as you can get, one member of the FC Dallas staff shared the field with Ronaldo long before the Portugese attacker was considered the best player in the world.
"I was doing pre-season with the Columbus Crew. I had just been traded from San Jose and I was with them for three months in pre-season," said under-18 head coach Luchi Gonzalez. "We were in Portugal for two weeks and played some exhibitions, one of which was against Sporting Lisbon in their training facility. I remember there was some hype about it, a young Portugese player who as the next big thing, Cristiano Ronaldo."
Ronaldo spent most of his formative years at the Portugese giants from Lisbon who have developed some of the biggest stars in world soccer.
"I see him warming up on their side. He’s 18 and I’m 22 and he’s got the orange [Nike] Vapors and you could tell he was very technical," said 33-year-old Gonzalez, who played for three different MLS clubs in his career. "We played the game, I don’t remember the exact score, it might have been 1-1."
Ronaldo's meteoric rise to stardom had began just months earlier as Ronaldo debuted with the Sporting first team in late 2002. In early August 2003, Ronaldo made his debut for Portugal and just over a week later would be sold to Manchester United for a reported 15 million Euro.
"I remember him taking people on the wing. I think [Columbus Crew defender] Duncan [Oughton] cracked him a few times, because he was a handful, but you could tell there was something there that was special. He did a lot of the stepovers then. He just had a change of speed, a good cross, it was clear that he was a different level and he was young and fearless. Literally a month later, I read that he got sold to Manchester United and I saw his debut and sure enough it was him and he was a beast. Still a skinny frame and nowhere near the machine he is now, but it was pretty cool."
The rest is history.
In addition to our merch specials, look out for up to 60% off group ticket packages for 2014 that are only available on Friday morning at the team store!
Located in the Northeast corner of Toyota Stadium, the FC Dallas Team Shop is North Texas’ top location for fans to supply themselves with apparel and merchandise including all of the latest FCD products and the opportunity to personalize their official adidas Major League Soccer jerseys by printing names and numbers on the front and back.
Phone Number: 469-365-0260
Monday – Thursday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Game days: Opens at 2 p.m.
In celebration of 11/28 being our national day of Thanksgiving, we are offering a special season ticket promotion for $1,128. You choose between one of two great package options(Click the picture above to order):
Option #1 – Two (2) Red Sideline Seats in Section 103* (value of $1,512 – 22% savings)
Option #2 – Four (4) Blue Sideline Seats in Section 131* (value of $2,016 – 45% savings)
Each package comes with a 12-15 lb. turkey, which you can pick up at FC Dallas Stadium on Tuesday, November 26th! While you’re here, you will receive your FC Dallas season ticket scarves and can take your picture in the home team locker room.
- 5-month payment plan applies, making monthly payments as little as $282/month for up to four (4) seats
- All season ticket holder benefits apply, including Meet the Team Day, STH Gifts, all Merchandise/Concession benefits, and more
*season seats sold in this package will be located above row 15
**offer expires Friday, November 22nd at 5:00 pm
We're through Week 2 of Movember 2013 and the boys' 'staches are coming along nicely from where they were a week ago. Remember, you can join the Movember movement by joining or donating to the FC Dallas Team HERE.
With the offseason in full effect, we haven't received updated mugshots from all the guys yet, but we're happy to share the Week 2 pictures we have.
We're down to the final 16 of the MLSsoccer.com Save of the Year competition! Raul Fernandez had three saves nominated and while we're still waiting to see if one of them advanced to the round of 16, we know that two of the Peruvians saves have made it to the second round. In fact, they're matched up against each other in today's vote!
Now here's where it gets tricky, we don't want to vote equally and have neither of them advance so we're encouraging all FCD fans to vote for Raul's save vs. Los Angeles to up the votes for that one and get Superman into the final round of Save of the Year voting! You can vote through 1:59AM on Thursday, November 14 so get to clicking!
The end-of-season voting continues as Michel now needs your help getting out of the second round of the 2013 AT&T Goal of the Year competition. In order to advance to the semifinals, the Brazilian's Olimpico needs your vote to get past strikes by Will Johnson, Javier Morales and Alvaro Saborio in Group 5.
Voting for Groups 5-8 is open until 11:59 pm PT on Tuesday, November 12 - that's 1:59 am CT on Wednesday, November 13 - so start voting NOW!
WATCH: Group 5
As part of MLS WORKS' Soccer Kicks Cancer campaign, several FC Dallas players have signed on for Movember in an initiative to help raise awareness for men's health issues. You can join the Movember movement by joining or donating to the FC Dallas Team HERE.
We'll be keeping you updated on the growth of the FC Dallas Movember Team all month long with weekly photos from the guys. Take a look at the guys' pictures from Week 1 below.
We know you've already voted for Latino del Ano, but your job is not quite done as there are two more FCD plays that need your vote to advance in AT&T Goal of the year and MLSsoccer.com Save of the Year voting!
In AT&T Goal of the Year voting, Jair Benitez's wonder-goal from midfield against Vancovuer has moved on to the round of 32 where it will face off against some pretty stiff competition from Javier Morales, Luis Gil and Tristan Bowen. Give Jair your vote and let's get his midfield bomb into the round of 16!
MLS Save of the Year voting has begun as well and Raul's big sprawling save at Los Angeles is up for round of 32 contention. Give Raul your vote as well!
Voting for both awards is open through Saturday, November 9 at 1:59AM central time.
We've reached the final 16 of MLSsoccer.com's 2013 Latino del Año competition and two FC Dallas players have advanced past the group stage..
Placed in a tough group with Erick "Cubo" Torres, Fabian Espindola and Marvin Chavez, FCD goalkeeper Raul Fernandez advanced out of the group with over 70% of the vote and he's been placed against San Jose's Honduran defender Victor Bernardez. For obvious reasons, we can't let Bernardez win this matchup so vote in the poll and send Raul Fernandez to the final eight!
WATCH: Llave 7
Also in the final 16 is FC Dallas forward Blas Perez who has been matched up against Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Osvaldo Alonso. Blas vanquished Jairo Arrieta, Juninho and Javier Morales to win his group and advance as the top seed from group E.
WATCH: Llave 8
As you can see in the bracket above, should they both win, Blas and Raul would be matched up against each other in the final eight, guaranteeing an FCD player in the final four of the tournament so get to voting for our latin duo of Raul and Blas!
It's playoff time in MLS and all the action started last night as Seattle Sounders FC dropped the Colorado Rapids 1-0 to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals vs their rival Portland Timbers. Tonight the Houston Dynamo host Montreal in the Eastern Conference Wild Card game at 7:30PM on NBC Sports Network.
In all, the MLS Cup Playoffs feature 15 pulse-pounding games and earlier yesterday, MLS released the full playoff calendar culminating in MLS Cup on Saturday, December 7 at the stadium of the highest remaining MLS Cup Playoff seed. For fun, we polled a couple of the FCD players to give us their predictions on what's going to happen over the next six weeks and added our own picks as well.
Let us know in the comments what your predictions are and who you think will lift the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy.
Seattle vs. Colorado
(Wed. 10/30 @ 9:30 pm CT - NBCSN)
Houston vs. Montreal
(Thurs. 10/31 @ 7:30 pm CT - NBCSN)