One thought came to FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja’s mind when he saw his set-piece specialist step up to take the game-tying free kick for FC Dallas in their valiant draw on the road vs. Sporting Kansas City last Saturday.
“I wanted him to put the ball in the back of the net, somehow,” said the grinning FC Dallas manager earlier this week.
Michel did not disappoint his new manager by sending a pin-point cross to Matt Hedges’ forehead in the 90th minute. The FCD center back returned the favor and made no mistake. With a swift flick of the head, Hedges smacked home a powerful finish to send the Hoops back to Frisco with a hard-earned draw in Kansas City. Whether it was Hedges’ 90-minute performance or Michel’s five minutes on the pitch, both players had a huge role in FCD’s point.
“We have to be ready for every moment on the field. Even if it’s just one chance, I will give it my best,” said the left-footed specialist. “I will work hard for a spot on this team and the most important thing is the group.”
Michel’s upbeat attitude and loyalty are attributes that every coach loves in a player and his left foot, among the best in MLS, certainly doesn't hurt either.
“It’s very nice to have a player who can decide the game in one play,” said Coach Pareja. “This is Michel.”
Interestingly, Oscar Pareja is not taking credit for the late-game substitution, passing the buck to assistant coaches Marco Ferruzzi and Josema Bazan. Had it not been for his intrepid assistants on the bench, Pareja says he might have missed it.
“It is also very nice to have two assistant coaches who can see [subbing Michel in] because I didn’t see it,” said Pareja. “The assistant coaches saw it. All the credit is due to Marco [Ferruzzi] and Josema [Bazan].”
Michel also noted the difference between the 2014 official MLS match ball and 2013’s, claiming that the 2014 ball has taken him some time to adapt to. However, the Brazilian does not make excuses, knowing that the amount of time he puts in to mastering the new ball will pay dividends in the end..
“[The new ball] is so different. Personally, I prefer last year’s ball, but we have a lot of time for practice every day and we are learning to adjust to it more and more,” said Michel. “Soon, I will have a feel for this ball and will kick better.”
If last weekend is any example, his practice has certainly paid off and could play a huge role in Saturday’s match at Toyota Stadium against Chivas USA.