KANSAS CITY, Kansas – FC Dallas stayed unbeaten on the young MLS season, playing to a 0-0 draw against Sporting KC on Saturday night at Children's Mercy Park.
With a CONCACACF Champions League Semifinal against C.F. Pachuca looming on Wednesday, March 15, FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja opted to get send out a younger-than-usual lineup (23.8 average) that included MLS debutants Paxton Pomykal, Jacori Hayes and Carlos Cermeño.
At just 17 years and 84 days old, Paxton slipped in front of Alejandro Zendejas and Eddie Johnson (both 17 years and 126 days) to claim the franchise record for youngest player ever to start a match.
Pomykal wasted no time getting involved after Jacori Hayes took a pass from Carlos Gruezo in the middle of the pitch and cracked a long ball over the top of the Sporting KC back line. MLS-veteran Atiba Harris made the long run of the right flank and brought the ball down before dropping a pass into the path of Pomykal. The teenager cut inside, around a defender, and attempted to pick out the far side-netting, but a Kansas City defender stepped up to block the first shot of the Homegrown’s MLS career in the ninth minute of the match.
Hayes, FC Dallas’ first pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, stood out as well. The Wake Forest-product clogged up passing lanes and drew three key fouls to ease the pressure from Sporting early in the match.
Pomykal picked the pocket of a Sporting KC defender and played forward Cristian Colman into space in the 25th minute. Colman ran the counterattack straight at two more Sporting defenders and the ball popped loose to a late-arriving Tesho Akindele, but the Canadian international’s first-touch shot was taken off his foot by Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia.
Colman broke free from his defender and Tesho found him with the ball in front of goal with a cross that was played in on the ground in the 29th minute. The Paraguayan ripped a hard shot towards the post to Melia’s left side, but pushed his try too far as the shot rang off the outside of the post.
Sporting’s Gerso Fernandes had the home team’s best look of the first half in the 32nd minute. Following a bicycle-kick attempt from Dom Dwyer that looped across the top of the six-yard box, Fernandes found himself with an acre of space with the ball at the back post. FC Dallas Homegrown goalkeeper, Jesse Gonzalez, came across the goal line and stood his ground. The 21-year-old slapped Fernandes’ shot down to the turf and covered up the loose ball for his first save of the season.
Atiba Harris released Pomykal down the right flank in the 71st minute. The youngster cut across the top of the area and earned a free kick in a dangerous position. Second-half substitute Kellyn Acosta stepped up to take the kick, bending a shot towards the near upper-90 but Melia was alert and make a save high to his left side.
Sporting earned a free kick, 35 yards from goal, slightly off to the left side of the field, in the 86th minute. SKC's No. 10 Benny Feilhaber lobbed a ball to the back post, but Gonzalez went over top of the crowd to punch away the chance, flipping forward over an FCD defender in the process. Kansas City tried to quickly get the ball back into the mixer, but Gonzalez recovered well and, for the second time in 10 seconds, he rose above the crowd to slap the ball away from danger.
Gonzalez was called upon one more time, this instance on a set piece played into the area from the left flank, just before the final whistle. Gonzalez kept his clean sheet intact, coming off his line to knock the serve away one final time to give Dallas its third point of the season in hostile territory.
FC Dallas – Jesse Gonzalez; Aaron Guillen, Matt Hedges, Maynor Figueroa, Atiba Harris; Paxton Pomykal (Michael Barrios - 80'), Carlos Gruezo, Jacori Hayes (Kellyn Acosta - 46'), Carlos Cermeno, Tesho; Cristian Colman (Roland Lamah - 63').
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Seitz, Hernan Grana, Maxi Urruti, Walker Zimmerman.
Sporting Kansas City – Tim Melia, Seth Sinovic, Ike Opara, Matt Besler, Graham Zusi, Benny Feilhaber, Ilie Sanchez, Roger Espinoza, Gerso Fernandes, Dom Dwyer, Jimmy Medranda (Latif Blessing - 67').
Substitutes Not Used: Adrian Zendejas, Daniel Salloi Soni Mustivar, Kevin Ellis, Lgor Juliao, Soony Saad.
DAL: Aaron Guillen (caution) 3
DAL: Maynor Figueroa (caution) 29
DAL: Atiba Harris (caution) 69
SKC: Seth Sinovic (caution) 79
SKC: Dom Dwyer (caution) 81
DAL: Carlos Gruezo (caution) 86
DAL: Carlos Cermeño (caution) 90+2
SKC: Gerso Fernandes (caution) 90+5
Referee: Sorin Stoica. AR1 (bench): Claudiu Badea; AR2 (opposite): Jonathan Johnson; Fourth official: Allen Chapman.
Weather: Cloudy, 33