FRISCO – FC Dallas ended their 6th MLS game of the season with a 2-0 win over Philadelphia putting them at an unbeaten 3-0-3 record for the season.
A big part of FCD’s early MLS success is due to a league low of only three goals allowed by the defense, and a pivotal part of this revamped 2018 defense is homegrown right back, Reggie Cannon.
Cannon has established himself very well in these early six games for FCD so far earning the trust of coach, Oscar Pareja, and his teammates. At only 19 years of age, Cannon surpassed a collegiate career at UCLA to sign for FC Dallas in 2017. His faith in Pareja’s system and eagerness to learn has earned him the starting right back role for FCD this season.
Cannon has had some tough tests in the early season so far holding down some of the league’s best wingers. The likes of David Accam, Sebastian Blanco, and Joao Plata have been shut down by Cannon and his restless defense. He describes himself as a player who wants to grow into the attack as a fullback but whose first priority is to defend, defend, and defend.
Postgame against the Union, Cannon himself explained coach Pareja’s defensive philosophy as one of great responsibility.
“Our job is to keep the score at zero as defenders. Our first responsibility is to defend and attacking is just a possibility,” said Cannon. “Oscar says your first responsibility is to keep the shutout and keep the zero and defend with your life.”
Pareja’s defensive philosophy is one that is certainly paying off as FCD seem to be right on track to many shutouts in the future.
But Cannon saw more of the attack today as well. The first half had many combinations plays between Cannon and winger, Michael Barrios, which allowed Cannon to often run into an open right wing with his blazing pace.
“I’m starting to gain a little more confidence of when to go forward and when to stay put,” said Cannon. “I’m starting to get a little bit of experience under my belt and Oscar keeps telling me to keep growing and pushing for that position, for fullbacks it just part of their game to attack now so it’s really paying off this year.”
Reggie Cannon will certainly continue to grow into his right back position especially learning from veterans like Reto Ziegler and Matt Hedges. He will continue to gain confidence with more playing time but an away test at NYCFC this next week will prove just how ready Cannon against the leading Eastern Conference foe.