Los Angeles — Preseason is fully underway, and FC Dallas' first travel stint is in Chula Vista, California, where the team will stay for a week. Los Toros will stay at the Chula Vista Athletic Training Center — a 155-acre campus for Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Throughout the week, Michael Ramirez of FCD Digital and Social will give updates on everything going on with the team and its players.
Well, the preseason trip to Chula Vista is officially over. Today was the last day in California, and it was a busy one to say the least. FC Dallas played its final preseason match in Cali, as it faced LAFC in the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. It took about a three-hour bus ride to reach the stadium, and the clash between the Western Conference foes didn't disappoint.
Thursday's Starting XI consisted of: Jesse Gonzalez, Reggie Cannon, Matt Hedges, Reto Ziegler, Ryan Hollingshead, Bryan Acosta, Brandon Servania, Jesus Ferreira, Michael Barrios, Santiago Mosquera, and Zdenek Ondrasek. Hedges returned from a knock he had been dealing with earlier in the week, and all three of the USMNT representatives were brought back into the fold as well.
The two teams played three, 30-minute periods in today's preseason game, and LAFC started strong. Its press wasn't as strong or tight as seen before, but it was still causing some problems for FC Dallas early on. Los Toros were able to absorb the majority of the pressure LAFC put on the them, but the home team broke the 0-0 deadlock on the last kick of the first period.
The second period was a totally different story, though. FC Dallas showed fight and resilience the entire thirty minutes, and the team was eventually rewarded with a goal from Ferreira — and it was a pretty goal to say the least.
Although the second period showed signs of promise, FC Dallas took a tough blow in its midfield when Servania came off with a minor knee sprain. It is expected to keep him out for a few weeks. LAFC ended up taking the lead once again off a FCD own goal to end the second period, but that wouldn't be the end of things.
Head coach Luchi Gonzalez brought out a second lineup to start the final period of play, which included: Gonzalez, Bryan Reynolds, Bressan, Callum Montgomery, Johnny Nelson, Thiago Santos, Edwin Cerrillo, Thomas Roberts, Fafá Picault, Ema Twumasi, and Ricardo Pepi.
This squad brought a lot of energy to the third period, and they were finally rewarded late in the match after Roberts played a beautiful lob pass, which Pepi latched on to and finished into the back of the net. The final score read 2-2 by the time the final whistle blew, and it was a great result for a team that was down twice in the same match.
Luchi mentioned after the game how resilient the group was on Thursday, and they'll look to keep that momentum going Sunday morning when the squad takes on Austin Bold FC in another preseason match.
For those of you who have kept up with the daily reports from Chula Vista, thank you. It was a fun trip that saw great progress for a squad that will surely be in the mix as a MLS Cup contender throughout the 2020 season. — Michael Ramirez