FRISCO, Texas -- First, it was his initial MLS minutes, then his first assist, and in the last two games Ramon Nunez has played 45 minutes. But on Tuesday night, Nunez did the thing every player craves for the first time since his ACL tear, hitting the back of the net twice against USL PRO's Antigua Barracuda FC in a 3-1 FC Dallas Reserves victory.
While the first goal, scored in the fourth minute, was more of a goalkeeping gaffe, his second strike in the 25th minute was a thing of beauty, curling a shot at the top of the box around Antigua goalkeeper Corey Whisenhunt and into the top corner.
"It was a ball that Fabian laid back off and I saw the opportunity to curl it around their defender," Nunez told FCDallas.com after the game. "Even though it’s a reserve game, it feels good to score. It’s my first goal back from the injury and it’s something that will give me a lot of confidence to continue improving day by day."
Reserve team coach Marco Ferruzzi praised Nunez's play after Tuesday's win.
"In the final third, Ramon is a dangerous player," said Ferruzzi. "He’s got an excellent shot and we’ve always known this about him. Getting everything into the complete package is still a process for him and other players, but this is the quality that he has. Outside the box he’s a dangerous shooter and he got two goals tonight."
Nearly as important as the goals was the 74 minutes played by Nunez, who inches ever-closer to full fitness and consideration for a spot in the starting lineup by head coach Schellas Hyndman.
"I think this game was very important for me in the aspect that I can work on my fitness," said Nunez. "I’ve been increasing in my minutes and hopefully soon enough it’ll lead to a start and I’ll make the most of it."