FOXBOROUGH - Jacori Hayes keeps making a bigger and bigger name for himself in his sophomore season.
Just two matches removed from his first MLS assist, the 2017 first-round SuperDraft pick notched his first professional goal, a game-winner in FC Dallas’ 1-0 win over the New England Revolution on Saturday night. This time, Roland Lamah returned the favor on the helper, finding Hayes on the end of a veteran run into the top of the area, where he fired a shot past Matt Turner.
“It’s a happy moment. I almost cried in the celebration,” Hayes said. “The last 10 minutes of the game felt like forever [trying to close out the win]. I was just happy to get the goal for the team. It's a very happy moment for me.”
“Made us feel very proud about what he’s doing on the field – the personality and the care that he has for the game and the commitment,” head coach Oscar Pareja said of the midfielder’s progression. “All those things show us that we’re on the right path with him and that he’s not just taking advantage of that opportunity. He’s showing us all that we have a great player for the USA.”
Despite the goal on the other end of the field, the midfielder led FCD on the night in tackles (10) and recoveries (13).
In five starts in 2018, Hayes has cemented himself into a regular midfield role with the absence of Kellyn Acosta to start the year. He now leads the team on the year in interceptions (12), recoveries (43) and tackles (21). Even with Acosta nearing a return, Hayes is making a stronger and stronger case to stay on the field for Dallas.
“I think I’m doing the most with what I’ve been given,” he said. “[I’m] just going to keep competing and try to get the same opportunities next week. Just kind of stay humble. There’s a lot of noise out there but trying to do what got me here at this point and keep working each week.”