Blaine, Minn. – FC Dallas Academy’s Malachi Molina represented the club in the inaugural MLS NEXT All-Star Game Wednesday afternoon at Minnesota United’s training complex.
Molina played the entire second half for the MLS NEXT West team that fell 2-1 to their East counterparts following two late goals.
“It was tough, very good opponents, very good players as well on my team,” Molina said after the game. “But at the end, they just took it away.
“I know how much faster the professional game is now. This isn’t even professional but it’s a lot faster than it is back in Dallas, so that’s something.”
The West opened the scoring early in the first half with a long shot from San Jose’s Cruz Medina and carried the lead into the break. The halftime interval saw both teams make wholesale substitutions and Molina entered the game at right back for the West.
At 15, Molina was among the youngest players on the field as well as being FC Dallas’ sole representative.
“There’s a lot of players bigger than me, I got bodied off the ball at the end there a little bit. But everyone’s skillful here and that’s what I like. I still felt very good about it. I’m the only player from FC Dallas here and I tried to make my club proud.”
The West held the lead until the 85th minute when the East was awarded a penalty to level the score. Three minutes later, they stole the game with a close-range tap in at the back post. Despite the result, it was an experience Molina will remember fondly.
“It’s been amazing. I wanted to be a professional before but if this is how it is every time you travel as a pro, it’s something I’m really looking forward to. It would be amazing (to come back), I’ve got to do better next season of course but I’d love that.”