FRISCO, Texas — Bryan Leyva waited three years before finaly getting his shot with FC Dallas on Saturday night. And the club’s first Homegrown player signing made it count in the 1-1 draw against the Portland Timbers.
Leyva started on the right wing for the injured Fabián Castillo and nearly scored his first MLS goal. Instead, his first MLS shot helped set up the lone Dallas goal on the night.
The 20-year old took a cross from Carlos Rodríguez and struck a first-time shot on Timbers 'keeper Troy Perkins. The veteran netminder punched the ball out right to FC Dallas forward Blas Pérez, who hammered home his first MLS goal.
“Carlos likes to cross it first time, so I was running forward and I saw that he crossed it," Leyva said after the match. "I knew there was a chance it might skip and go long past the defender, so I increased my speed, got there and shot it first thing.".
Said FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman: “He took the shot that lead to the goal and I thought he really did a lot for himself today. Not only for himself personally with confidence, but for his teammates and coaching staff. I think we all felt that he did a really good job.”
But Leyva’s first start did not last the entire game. Portland’s pace and physical game caused Hyndman to make a tactical change just before halftime and Leyva was the player forced to make room. The FC Dallas manager brought on central defender George John, moving Jair Benítez to right midfield and sliding Hernán Pertúz to left back.
“It was just too difficult to deal with Portland’s size and physical play in the box," Hyndman said. "I think the strength on Portland’s team is their flank play, getting crosses off, and they got a lot of guys in there that can deal with the crosses."
Leyva understood the change was tactical and he recognized that he still needed time to adjust to the pace of an MLS match.
“I just think as always the speed of the game was really fast and something that we have to adjust to," Leyva said. "But I had games in already and I feel great. I just have to keep working towards the speed of the game."
With injuries and international call-ups reeking havoc on Hyndman’s roster already this season, Leyva's next shot should be right around the corner.