FRISCO – It wasn’t the start they wanted, but FC Dallas got the result they needed at Toyota Stadium on Wednesday night, with a 2-1 win over Pachuca in Leg One of the CCL Semifinal.
Just three minutes into the match, the visitors found netting as Erick Aguirre dribbled along the touch line and found an open Franco Jara in the box for the lead.
“It was definitely a wake-up call,” Homegrown Kellyn Acosta said of the early lapse. “We had a couple chances, but them scoring really opened our eyes. That away goal is definitely tough [to give up], but the guys, we were motivated, we battled, we continued with our plan.”
Dallas found themselves in an adjustment period early in the match against their Liga MX opponents, but as the first half went along, the plan started to take shape. Crosses became cleaner, passes distributed quicker and shots taken with ever-increasing danger.
“They pressed us a little bit differently than I think we thought they were going to, and credit to them, it caused us a couple issues in the beginning of the game,” goalkeeper Chris Seitz said. “It took us a couple minutes to get into it and once we did and we found our feet, we settled down quite a bit and started to put the game together.”
The growth through the game came to fruition in the dying minutes of the opening half, as Hernan Grana charged down the right flank and sent a cross just out of reach of Cristian Colman inside the six-yard box. Pachuca keeper Alfonso Blanco charged the ball with a two-handed punch that fell right to Maxi Urruti at the top of the area, and he delivered a strike to level the match.
“I think it got our confidence back after that slow start,” captain Matt Hedges said. “I think we started playing much better and taking it to them a little bit and getting that goal in the first half was key to go into half 1-1.”
After a flurry of chances early in the second half, Acosta would put FCD up, 2-1, on a perfectly-placed free kick from 25 yards out – a lead that the club will take with them to Pachuca for Leg Two on April 4.
“It shows one more time what this group has built and their character,” head coach Oscar Pareja said. “It just made us proud about the reactions because we played against a good team. Sometimes things happen like what happened in the first five minutes, but after that, the reaction was first level.”