In front of an enormous crowd of 81,410 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, FC Dallas forward Blas Perez scored in the first half as Panama defeated Mexico 2-1 in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals. This all-important win sends Panama to their second Gold Cup Final where they'll face the United States who cruised to a 3-1 victory thanks to a pair of goals from Landon Donovan, the hottest player in US Soccer.
In the opening match, the United States had little trouble jumping out to a two-goal lead at halftime. Landon Donovan was again the dangerman with a brilliant assist on Eddie Johnson's well taken 11th minute goal before scoring a fantastic goal of his own in the 27th minute.
After Honduras' Nery Medina raised the blood pressure with a 52nd minute goal, Donovan wasted no time in scoring his fifth goal of the tournament just a minute later to put the Catrachos comeback bid to rest in another scintillating performance from Jurgen Klinsmann's men.
In the nightcap, it was Blas Perez on his homecoming to DFW getting things started with a 13th minute goal slammed past Mexico goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco. El Tri set the highly partisan crowd on fire when Luis Montes headed home Marco Fabian's brilliant cross in the 26th minute to send the game into halftime tied 1-1.
In the second half, Roman Torres headed home a corner from Gabriel Torres to put Panama up 2-1, a lead they wouldn't relenquish. Perez and Panama will face the United States in the final at 3PM on Sunday afternoon, their second-ever Gold Cup final and second against the United States, a game the Americans won on penalty kicks.
Two FC Dallas starters earned some praise from MLSsoccer.com following the team's scoreless draw in Montreal. Raul Fernandez took the top spot in the Castrol Index Weekly Top 20, while Zach Loyd earned a spot on Team of the Week.
Fernandez is no stranger to the Castrol Index. This week's appearance marks his sixth on the season and the second time the 'keeper has been number one for the week. Here's what the MLS staff had to say about the Peruvian national:
Nine goalkeepers made the cut, with FC Dallas 'keeper Raúl Fernández leading the way in the Week 21 marks. His four saves in a shutout performance helped Dallas pick up a road point in Montreal. It is the second time this season Fernandez has had the top spot in the Castrol Index Weekly Top 20.
Meanwhile, Zach Loyd was one of three defenders to pick up Team of the Week honors after his strong backfield performance in Montreal. Here's what Nicholas Rosano said about the defender:
A force on the right flank as Dallas battled to a scoreless draw in Montreal, both quieting the Impact's attack and getting forward to effectively join in on a few attacks himself.
Congrats to both players on their performances!
Castrol Index Week 21 Top 10 Performers
|1||Raúl Fernández||Goalkeeper||FC Dallas||90||Montreal Impact||1,445|
|2||DeAndre Yedlin||Defender||Seattle Sounders||90||Colorado Rapids||1,434|
|3||Clint Irwin||Goalkeeper||Colorado Rapids||90||Seattle Sounders||1,331|
|4||Dan Kennedy||Goalkeeper||Chivas USA||90||Toronto FC||1,316|
|5||Donovan Ricketts||Goalkeeper||Portland Timbers||90||Philadelphia Union||1,298|
|6||Troy Perkins||Goalkeeper||Montreal Impact||90||FC Dallas||1,261|
|7||Ike Opara||Defender||Sporting Kansas City||90||Real Salt Lake||1,231|
|8||José Gonçalves||Defender||New England Revolution||90||Columbus Crew||1,219|
|9||Zac MacMath||Goalkeeper||Philadelphia Union||90||Portland Timbers||1,196|
|10||Chris Rolfe||Forward||Chicago Fire||90||D.C. United||1,181|
FC Dallas will host Stoke City FC of the English Premier League this Saturday and while it is the team's first time playing an EPL side, it is certainly not their first international friendly.
FC Dallas has played an international side in almost every season of its existence, Saturday will be the 15th official FC Dallas Stadium international friendly, and a few seasons included multiple international matches. The first friendly hosted at FC Dallas Stadium was a 4-1 FC Dallas win against Atlas CF of Mexico in March of 2006 and FC Dallas is 9-3-2 in the 14 matches.
Saturday's match certainly has plenty of intrigue, however, as it's just the second time a European team has faced FCD in an international friendly with the other one coming in 2010 when then-UEFA Champions League winners Inter Milan drew FCD 2-2. Here's some highlights of international friendlies at FC Dallas Stadium:
2006 - FC Dallas 2 Tigres 0
The first really memorable international friendly in front of a raucous crowd in Frisco saw FCD beat the Mexican side behind goals from Arturo Alvarez and Marcelo Saragosa. FCD went on to win the inaugural Rio Grande Plate on penalties down in Monterrey with Dario Sala saving, then scoring the game-winner.
2007 - FC Dallas 0 Atletico Paranaense 1
FCD fell to Brazilians Atletico Paranaense in the first of two meetings between the clubs in Frisco. This was an unspectacular game except for one major point, midfield maestro David Ferreira played his first minutes at FC Dallas Stadium, though they were with the Brazilians.
2008 - FC Dallas 1 Chivas Guadalajara 2
An exciting mid-summer match between FCD and Mexican giants Chivas de Guadalajara ended 2-1 to the visitors. A starting-quality FCD side produced a fantastic first half, but lineup changes saw Dallas relinquish a 1-0 lead giving up two late goals. The scorer of the game-winner? None other than budding Mexican National Team star Marco Fabian. This is interestingly the last international friendly that FCD has lost as they take an eight-game unbeaten run into Saturday's game.
2010 - FC Dallas 2 Inter Milan 2 (HIGHLIGHTS)
Obviously the biggest international friendly FC Dallas Stadium has hosted, FCD welcomed then-UEFA Champions League winners Inter Milan to Frisco for a prestigious match. "El Principe" Diego Milito opened the scoring for Inter, but George John struck back before halftime with a beautiful header to send the game into halftime tied 1-1. Who else but Samuel Eto'o broke the deadlock in the second half scoring from a blast outside the box before 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira sealed the 2-2 draw with a penalty kick goal.
2012 - FC Dallas 3 Club Leon 3 (HIGHLIGHTS)
In perhaps the most exciting of the 15 international friendlies, FC Dallas and recently-promoted Club Leon played to a thrilling 3-3 draw that the Mexican side won on penalty kicks. A see-saw match in which both teams held leads was settled by a late Bobby Warshaw equalizer that slipped over the line.
FC Dallas’ winless streak continued with a 0-0 stalemate in Montreal on Saturday. Despite the draw on a tough road trip, the team didn’t see much positive movement in this week’s power rankings.
Yahoo Sports moved FC Dallas down to #10:
Earning a draw at Montreal would normally be a good result, but Dallas really need to locate a win. Talk about a July to forget.
FC Dallas remained number 11 according to MLSsoccer.com:
All things considered, a point on the road is a good result for a team that's trying desperately to hang on in the playoff race. But there's this: They haven't scored a single goal since June. Crisis.
Avi Creditor of SportsIllustrated.com left FC Dallas in the #10 spot:
Center back anchor George John returned following a four-game absence and helped FC Dallas to a 0-0 draw against Montreal, but the club remains winless since May 25, a stretch of eight games. That streak will linger on past the MLS All-Star Game, as FCD does not play another league game until an Aug. 3 date against the Seattle Sounders that kicks off a run of seven games in a row against Western Conference competition.
Pro Soccer Talk also put FC Dallas in the 10th spot:
Speaking of Stoke City, they move from South Texas up I-45 to suburban Dallas for a meeting with Schellas Hyndman’s team over the weekend.
ESPN FC dropped FCD one spot to number 13:
George John's return helped Dallas secure a much-needed road point at Montreal. And while FCD was missing some speedier elements, it seems reasonable to expect more offense from a lineup featuring David Ferreira, Kenny Cooper and Eric Hassli.
Finally, Soccer America moved FC Dallas down three to #10.
FC Dallas welcomes Stoke City to FCD Stadium on Saturday in the first-ever game between FC Dallas and an EPL side in Frisco. Their trip to north Texas is sandwiched between games in Houston and Philadelphia. New Stoke manager Mark Hughes has released his travel roster for their week-long USA tour:
Stoke City FC Travel Roster
Goalkeepers: Asmir Begovic, Thomas Sorensen, Jack Butland
Defenders: Geoff Cameron, Ryan Shawcross, Robert Huth, Erik Pieters, Ryan Shotton, Andy Wilkinson, Marc Wilson, Marc Muniesa, Jordan Keane
Midfielders: Wilson Palacios, Charlie Adam, Florent Cuvelier, Glenn Whelan, Steven N’Zonzi, Matthew Etherington, Michael Kightly, Jamie Ness, Maurice Edu, Brek Shea*
Forwards: Peter Crouch, Cameron Jerome, Jonathan Walters, Kenwyne Jones*
*denotes will join club when international duties (CONCACAF Gold Cup) are complete
The week ahead is an exciting one for soccer fans across the metroplex, with the best of CONCACAF coming to town for the Gold Cup semifinals and FC Dallas Stadium hosting three events, including an international friendly. Here's a timeline of the packed week!
Tuesday, July 23 - FC Dallas Reserves vs. Antigua Barracuda FC: The FC Dallas reserve squad will host Antigua Barracuda FC of USL Pro in reserve league action on Tuesday night, their second home game of the season. The game will start at 7 p.m. and admission is free. If you can't make it out to the stadium, you can watch the game via the live stream on FCDallas.com.
Wednesday, July 24 - Gold Cup Semifinals: On Wednesday night, one of the biggest soccer events of the year hits Cowboys Stadium as the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals come to the metroplex. Jurgen Klinsmann's high-flying United States squad starts the evening off at 6 p.m. against Honduras, followed by Mexico vs. Panama, featuring FC Dallas' Blas Perez, at 9 p.m. in what is sure to be a sold-out and wild atmosphere. Follow FC Dallas for exclusive social media and website coverage of both games.
Friday, July 26 - Meet the Team: FC Dallas Season Ticket Holders will have an exclusive opportunity to meet the team on Friday night before the Stoke City friendly on Saturday. The schedule is tentatively as follows: The evening will begin with a press conference featuring Stoke City at 6 p.m. in the WinStar River Club. The event is open to the first 300 Season Ticket Holders that arrive. The press conference will be followed by the media introduction of FC Dallas' newest signing, Mauro Diaz, at 6:15 p.m. Season Ticket Holders will also have access to Stoke City FC's pregame practice starting at 6:30p.m. The evening will end with FC Dallas player autographs on the concourse from 7:15-8:45 p.m. Free CiCi's pizza and soda will be available for all Season Ticket Holders. If you're not currently a season ticket holder, you can gain access to the event by purchasing season tickets. Call 888-FCD-GOAL for more information.
Saturday, July 27 - FC Dallas vs. Stoke City FC: The week will conclude with an international showdown as the English Premier League comes to Frisco with FCD hosting Stoke City FC. The game will kickoff at 8 p.m. at FC Dallas Stadium, and there is still plenty of time to grab your tickets for the game.
FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS: Montreal Impact 0, FC Dallas 0
SAVE: Hassli's spin and shot tipped wide by Troy Perkins
CROSSBAR: Mapp's rocket beats Fernandez, but not the crossbar
SAVE: Beautiful flowing move frees Watson, but his header is straight at Perkins
SAVE: Fernandez gets big to acrobatically deny Mapp
SAVE: Fernandez denies Mapp's chip as time ticks down
This morning, HSG Chairman Clark Hunt had a lengthy chat with 1310 AM The Ticket's legendary host Norm Hitzges. Norm, who can be seen at many FC Dallas games, has commentated on soccer for decades including the Dallas Tornado and Dallas Sidekicks. Listen to the great interview:
Looking for a place to watch this weekend's game with your fellow FC Dallas fans? July's Party at the Pubs watch party will be held at The Pub in Frisco on Saturday, with kickoff set for 6 p.m. In addition to the game, the FC Dallas girls and Hooper will stop by and you could go home with some free stuff.
Giveaways include Gold Cup tickets, as well as tickets for the Stoke City friendly next weekend and Breakaway Festival, FC Dallas gear, and a shirt autographed by the team.
The Pub is located off Preston Road, past Gaylord Parkway.
View The Pub in Frisco in a larger map