FRISCO, Texas -- Having made the bench on and off since April, Kellyn Acosta has had some near-misses in making his MLS debut, but in the 74th minute of Saturday's game in Seattle, the recently-turned 18-year-old finally got the call he's been waiting for, even if he wasn't quite expecting it.
"It caught me by surprise to be honest," Acosta told FCDallas.com on Tuesday. "I’m just glad I got the opportunity to play, a crazy atmosphere, the fans are great over there. It was just a crazy experience for me."
Acosta's been inching ever-closer to hitting the field since returning from the Under-20 World Cup, and for head coach Schellas Hyndman, the final convincing moment was his 90-minute performance against English Premier League side Stoke City.
"Kellyn played against Stoke City and that was his real test playing against a good team and seeing how he would handle the pressure and handle [playing against] a seasoned professional," said Hyndman. "I thought he did well looking back at the Stoke City game, he played the whole 90 minutes in three or four different positions and it was really an opportunity for me to evaluate him."
UNDER-20 WORLD CUP RECAP
Having passed the test, Acosta was subbed in for Zach Loyd at right back and Hyndman said the substitution wasn't made for anything Loyd did wrong, but rather this being a perfect opportunity to get the youngster some minutes in a pressure-packed environment.
"I thought his decision making was good," said Hyndman. "His range of passing was good. He wasn’t just knocking balls up the line; he was hitting them into the center and diagonal balls."
Acosta enjoyed the experience and said he was pleased with his overall performance, but that he hopes the next appearance will come in much different circumstances on the scoreboard.
"I think I did alright, there were a couple things I could’ve done better, getting forward, helping the team create some chances," said Acosta. "Defensively you can always do better, but overall I thought I did pretty good for my first game."