The FC Dallas U-18 Academy team fell to Mexico’s CF Monterrey Rayados 2-1 in a Super Group game of the 2010 Dallas Cup on Monday night. Rayados got a goal in the 26th and 69th minutes while FCD’s lone goal came in the 59th minute.
“I didn’t like the first half,” FCD head coach Oscar Pareja said. “I felt we came out a little bit flat. For some of the boys, this is their first time playing against the biggest clubs in the world and it was a great experience for them. Overall, we had a good performance. We competed with them and played a great second half.”
Los Rayados controlled possession for most of the opening frame. And before their opening goal, everyone in attendance knew it was time before the Mexican club finally made good on one of their many scoring chances of the half.
And in the 26th, it was Fernando Moreno who converted a header to give Monterrey a 1-0 advantage. The sequence started on the right flank when César de la Peña struck a great cross into the center of the FCD box. Moreno timed his leap perfectly, winning a battle in the air with an FCD player and headed the ball into the left side of the net for the tally.
In the 43rd minute, Moreno had two additional chances to add to the Rayados’ lead. However, he was denied by FCD goalkeeper Zachery Downes on both opportunities.
While their spirits were a bit dampened after allowing that goal, FCD had several great chances to draw things level in the opening frame. Victor Ulloa was denied twice by the Rayados’ keeper in an eight-minute span. The first time was in the 30th minute when Ulloa tried to convert a rebound after teammate Ruben Luna was denied by the opposing ‘keeper, who knocked his shot over the crossbar to set up an FCD corner kick. In the 38th, Ulloa was stopped cold again in similar fashion.
Even though Ulloa failed to convert, Pareja had many good things to say about him after the game’s conclusion.
“He is one of the players I have high hopes for,” the FCD coach said. “I have invested a lot of time in him. He has the right mentality. I saw him leading the team out there tonight. I saw him fighting and being a great two-way player. I hope everybody else saw that also.”
One thing FCD did well in the first half was create their fair share of set pieces. The club had its share of corners and free kicks but was unable to convert any of those opportunities into goals and the match remained 1-0 at the break.
Things remained scoreless for the next 21 minutes until FCD finally broke through in the 59th minute with a goal by Bradlee Baladez. Steven Adams set his teammate up nicely with a well-placed ball from the left flank. All Baladez had to do was head the ball squarely, which he did, sending one into the back of the Monterrey net for the equalizer.
However, any momentum shift from that tally was short-lived as the Rayados went back ahead just nine minutes later. FCD’s Jael Barrera was whistled for apparently taking down Monterrey’s Sergio Soto inside the area. The referee quickly pointed to the penalty spot and Monterrey’s Fernando Martínez stepped up to take it. Martínez quickly converted, knocking it into the middle of the canvas with Downes going to his right.
It was a call that didn’t exactly sit well with Pareja.
“I didn’t see any PK,” he said after the match. “I still think [officiating] is a department to be improved in. There is nothing you can do from the bench when they call a PK.”
FC Dallas midfielder David Ferreira was among those in attendance as he was taking in the game from the far sideline in the first half. FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman and assistant John Ellinger were also watching the proceedings from the more-crowded near sideline.