FRISCO – One week from Thursday, it all begins again for FC Dallas as CONCACAF Champions League play resumes. And for tournament veteran Javier Morales, it’s a chance at redemption.
In the 2010-11 edition of the region’s championship, Morales and Real Salt Lake side made it to the tournament Final in a home-and-home series against Monterrey. The Maestro scored a series-leveling goal in the final minutes of Leg One to send the Final back to RSL 2-2. Salt Lake needed just a win or a draw at home to become the first MLS team ever to win the tournament – but lost, 1-0.
“I don’t know if there is a good memory for me,” Morales said of the experience. “We were so close and a goal away from winning that trophy. Now I like it because I have another opportunity to play again in this tournament.”
Now, the 37-year-old will have a chance once again at a CONCACAF Champions League title. As FC Dallas gets set to face Panamanian-side Arabe Unido in a Quarterfinal battle, Morales knows the international opponents bring a little something extra.
“Especially with teams in Central America, they have another way to think about soccer,” Morales said. “We have to be prepared that they’re not coming here to just play or waste time – they’re coming here to try to win the game. We have to be ready for that battle.”
And this time around, Morales is determined to right what he fell just shorted in 2011 - playing with a little chip on his shoulder.
“I’m very excited to play those games,” he said. “For me, a good memory is going to be raising that trophy now.”