The MLS-debut jitters were apparent early, but after the newness wore off, Walker Hume’s game grew during his first professional start in FC Dallas’ 2-1 loss to Chicago on Thursday night.
“The first 15 minutes, my head was spinning - the atmosphere, my first MLS start, all of that is going through your head,” Hume said after the match. “But after the first couple of passes and encouragement from my teammates to get me going and after that I think I was able to play the way I know how to play.”
Scoring came early and often in Bridgeview, with all three goals coming in the opening nine minutes of the match. The Fire came in early and hard attacking down the left side, with Nemanja Nikolic striking in the 3rd minute as the rookie tried to defend against two Chicago players, including the early season Golden Boot leader. Then, after an equalizer for Dallas, David Accam spun away from Atiba Harris down the wing and fired a shot before Hume could close in, scoring the eventual game-winner.
Midway through the half, Oscar Pareja flipped Matt Hedges and the 2017 SuperDraft pick in the middle to provide some assistance defending the dangerous Accam on the right. The move paid off as Hume settled in to his debut and found his own - completing 40 passes and adding one tackle and one well-timed yellow card as the FCD defense kept the Fire off the board the rest of the way.
“I think overall he did well,” Pareja said. “Obviously the first 10 minutes was a little bit of challenge for the youngster, it was his first game, but after that I think he settled in and they did well. I’m proud of him.”
“I thought he did really well,” Tesho Akindele added. “He’s a big guy, he won the ball well, he made a lot of good passes, which is one of his strengths that I’ve seen in practice, so I thought that was good for him and hopefully he’ll build on that moving forward.”
While the other Walker in the Dallas room, Walker Zimmerman, will return to action this weekend against Houston, Thursday night was a valuable first taste of MLS play for the rookie. In just a few weeks’ time, he could be called on again as one or both of FCD’s center backs join the U.S. Men’s National Team for the Gold Cup.
“It was an unbelievable experience for me and obviously not the result that I wanted, but I was out there with teammates that have faith and belief in me that I was going to go out there and get the job done,” Hume said. “Obviously I learned a lot and can grow from this game and look forward to many more.”