FRISCO, Texas – It was already a night to remember for Ruben Luna, but it could have been so much better. In his MLS debut last Saturday, the 18-year-old rookie poked a shot past Toronto FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei during stoppage time, raised his hands to the heavens and fell to the turf at Pizza Hut Park in celebration.
The only problem? Luna was offsides while scrapping for the rebound off teammate Brek Shea's shot, a crucial point nearly lost on the frenzied crowd and – even four days later – Luna himself.
“After the game, the first thing I did was go home and watch video," Luna said. "I was obviously excited to score my first goal, but the ref called it offside. It couldn’t have been anything else because the goalie had the ball in his hands. It’s sad, but I got to move on.”
“I didn’t think so at all," Luna said of the offsides call. "It was a close call and I can see why he called it. But from my point of view, I didn’t think I was.”
WATCH: LUNA'S GOAL DISALLOWED
Still, despite that controversial call, FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman was pleased with how his young forward performed against the Reds.
“Ruben has developed his body – he’s strong,” Hyndman said. “He’s passionate and now he’s a goal-scorer. Now we’ve just got to get him to pass the ball and read the game a little bit quicker.”
The affable young striker admits he did have a few butterflies before he took the field for the first time.
“I was a little nervous," Luna said. "I made a few mistakes I don’t normally make in practices or games. I failed to connect on a few passes and I should have made a shot earlier but I got too comfortable and missed it. I think I did well. I was a bit scared and nervous but excited to play again.”
When he did get the call from Hyndman that he was indeed going to make his debut, the FCD gaffer’s instructions to his young forward were pretty simple. Since he has been training with FCD since preseason and even accompanied the team on several trips, the speed of the game wasn’t a big adjustment at all.
“I thought it was going to be a little faster, but it’s the same as practice, same level,” Luna said. “It’s a different atmosphere. It was very nice.”
With his debut, Luna became the third FCD youth system product to log minutes for the first team this year. Midfielder Bryan Leyva, who was the first youth player to sign with the club last fall, made his MLS debut earlier this year as a second-half substitute against the Galaxy. Defender Moises Hernandez, who is not officially eligible until the 2011 season, subbed into the second half of FCD's friendly with Inter Milan back in August.
Not surprisingly, the young phenoms are very close friends.
“We were just talking about it the other day," Luna said of Leyva. "He was telling me how excited he was when he went in. We shared the same feelings and I’m sure everybody else did. It was awesome for both of us.”
WATCH: Ruben Luna makes his debut