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.
SEGMENT 1: Amid all of the World Cup qualifying matches taking place in various corners of the globe, Stein and Steve kick off the morning by reflecting on the United States' nil-nil draw in Scotland in the penultimate match of 2013 for Jurgen Klinsmann's side.
SEGMENT 2: Fresh off broadcasting the Scotland/USA game live from Hampden Park, Soccer Today favorite Derek Rae returns to the show to share some of his impressions of the U.S. national team ... Brek Shea and Sacha Kljestan specifically.
SEGMENT 3: Native New Zealander Duncan Oughton, now an assistant coach to countryman Ryan Nelsen at Toronto FC, joins the boys for the second straight week to discuss the Kiwis' daunting World Cup playoff series with Mexico. Is there any way they can make things competitive in the home leg in Wellington after absorbing a 5-1 rout in the first leg at the Azteca?
SEGMENT4: Cristiano Ronaldo v Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lionel Messi's latest leg injury and the array of good international matches on show Tuesday are the prime topics on the table before the final whistle blows on another Soccer Sunday.
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
SEGMENT 1: Major League Soccer is down to its Final Four … and all four teams have total payrolls for the season worth under $4 million. Stein and Steve discuss the teams still alive in the MLS playoffs, all of which cost less to assemble than employing Thierry Henry or Robbie Keane on their own.
SEGMENT 2: More MLS playoff talk from the boys, who lament the early exits of the marquee teams from New York, Los Angeles and Seattle. Or do they?
SEGMENT 3: Former Sporting KC forward Kei Kamara, fresh of captaining Middlesbrough for the first time, joins the guys by phone to chat about life in England and his provocative night tweets about the MLS playoffs and his old friends back in Kansas City.
SEGMENT 4: Some unavoidable technical trouble makes it a brief visit, but former New Zealand national-team stalwart and longtime MLS midfielder/defender Duncan Oughton stops by to help Stein and Steve preview the first leg of the Kiwis’ World Cup playoff series against mighty Mexico, which starts Wednesday at the Azteca.
The MLS Cup Playoffs Conference Finals get started this weekend as Sporting Kansas City visits the Houston Dynamo Saturday afternoon on NBC and Real Salt Lake hosts the Portland Timbers on ESPN Sunday night. This year's Conference Finals will feature a two-week layoff, with Leg 2 taking place after the FIFA international fixture window.
FC Dallas players Matt Hedges and Eric Hassli, along with the FCDallas.com editorial staff, are back with their picks for which teams will make the MLS Cup Final. Four out of the five of us guessed the Conference Semifinals with 50% accuracy, while one predictor (who shall remain nameless) went 0-for-4 in the last round.
Let us know in the comments what your predictions are and who you think will lift the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy.
POR vs. RSL
LEG 1: 11/10 @ 8pm - ESPN
LEG 2: 11/24 @ 8pm - ESPN
SKC vs. HOU
LEG 1: 11/9 @ 1:30pm - NBC
LEG 2: 11/23 @ 6:30pm - NBCSN
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.