FRISCO, Texas — Back in preseason, the signs were there. Ruben Luna was knocking in goals seemingly left and right. Those that saw him play agreed that the 18-year-old had a bright future.
Now it seems the future has arrived for Luna.
One of three youth alumni to sign a pro contract with FC Dallas in August, Luna will be occupying a spot in the squad left by forward Milton Rodriguez, out with a groin injury, as Dallas travel to Sandy, Utah, for the second leg of the Western Conference semifinal against Real Salt Lake.
“Out of our academy players, he’s probably the one that could step up the earliest,” FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman said of Luna. “I think he will definitely make the trip and we’ll see if he gets on the field.”
Dallas has not advanced in the playoffs since 1999, but they carry a 2-1 lead over RSL heading into the second leg of the aggregate-goals series. Luna has been praised for his pace and his finishing, and FCD may need it against a team that has only lost twice in their home stadium.
“I’m really excited to be part of the 18-man roster for this game,” Luna said. “It’s a big responsibility and I know it’s not easy to come off the bench, but I’ll be ready. The coaches have faith in me. I’ll be prepared to show the team what I can do.”
Should Luna get on the pitch come Saturday and make a meaningful contribution, he would join a list of young FCD rookies that have been key to the club’s success this year.
Top draft pick Zach Loyd had 19 starts for Dallas in the regular season, while third-round choice Eric Alexander also had 12 starts in the central midfield.
“I scored goals [in the preseason] and honestly didn’t think I was going to play but I was always prepared,” Luna said. “I’m doing the same stuff I’ve been doing. If I get a chance to go in, hopefully the ball will turn my way and I’ll get to bang one in. Being prepared is the main thing now.”
Ready to launch: MLS Matchday 2010, The new official MLS iPhone app. It's FREE! Download it here!