Craig Marcho

FCD Juniors win final match of Dallas Cup

It has been a tough few days for the FC Dallas U18 Academy in the Super Group of the 2010 Dallas Cup. On Sunday, FCD lost 4-2 to Chelsea FC and on Tuesday, a controversial penalty kick call in the second half helped CF Monterrey of Mexico to a 2-1 win.

That meant FCD was headed into Wednesday’s match with LD Alajuelense looking for their first win of this year’s Dallas Cup.

After trailing 1-0 following a goal by Alajuelense’s Diego Calvo in the 65th minute, FCD rebounded with a pair of unanswered goals to prevail 2-1 in their last match of this year’s tournament.

“I think it was a fair result. In the first half, it was difficult getting the boys pumped up for this game,” FCD assistant coach Francisco Molina said. “But we showed a lot of pride in the second half. We never went out of our system. We kept playing our same style. There at the end, they ran out of gas and we pushed them. I think we deserved to win.”

The clubs played to a 0-0 tie in the first half, which featured even play from both sides.

In the first minute of the second frame, Alajuelense nearly drew first blood on a great chance inside the FCD box. However, FCD’s Jael Barrera stepped in to save the day and executed a perfect clearance off the end line to preserve the scoreless affair.

About three minutes into the second half, FCD goalkeeper Zachery Downes made a great stop on Alajuelense’s Alejandro Aguilar to keep things scoreless. However, in the 65th, Calvo made a run with possession in the middle of the field and struck a great ball that Downes had little chance to stop. In a flash, the Costa Rican club was ahead 1-0.

Less than a minute later, FCD’s Ruben Luna nearly drew things level but his shot caromed hard off the post. However, just one minute later teammate Damion Rosales drew thing level for FCD. After one of his teammates was stopped cold by Alajuelense goalkeeper Mauricio Vargas, the rebound fell to Rosales, who quickly punched one into the back of the net.

Things remained deadlocked at one goal apiece until the 86th minute when FCD’s Uriel Soto drained a perfect shot from just outside the top of the arc. His blast from distance landed in the right side of the net and FCD had their first lead at 2-1.

However, Alajuelense had one last shot at making this one end in a draw. Just one minute after Soto’s goal to put FCD ahead, Luis Solano looked to draw things level again with a bomb from about 30 yards out. Once again, Downes was on point and in perfect position as he was able to knock Solano’s rocket over the crossbar to set up a corner kick.

Even though FCD’s run in the Dallas Cup is now concluded, Molina was happy with how his team rallied after going a goal down in the second half.

“This group has been together for two years now. They know how to play together,” the FCD assistant coach said. “We played hard. We showed a lot of pride. We’re very disappointed in the first two games and we didn’t want to go out like that. These guys and myself have been waiting for over 10 years to play in the Super Group and I think that showed on the field. We’ve been waiting forever to play in this situation and we’re there. I guess they opened our eyes. I think we needed to get scored on for us to react.”