ATLANTA - It was almost the perfect night the FC Dallas’ two faces at the 2018 MLS Homegrown Game, pres. by Energizer.
For the second straight year, Jesus Ferreira and Paxton Pomykal suited up for the annual young stars showcase during All-Star week and nearly sealed a three-point night for the MLS side. Instead, the game ended in a 1-1 stalemate.
Ferreira earned the start and played 70 of the 90 minutes of action, while Pomykal came off the bench for the entire second half in a Dallas-dominant attacking phase.
“I felt comfortable to be with my friends around the league,” Pomykal said after the draw. “It was a phenomenal experience for me.”
“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Ferreira said of his experience after being added to the roster just two days prior. “I found out like two days before we were supposed to travel, but it feels good though. The league is looking at what I’m doing and it’s working and I got a chance to be called back again.”
Holding a 1-0 lead in the 68th minute, Ferreira showcased just why he was brought into the team, beating two Tigres defenders at the top of the 18 before firing a shot into the back corner of the net with what would be his final touch of the night. But shortly after being subbed out of the match, the goal was put to video review and was called back for an infraction in the MLS Homegrowns’ own penalty area at the start of the play. After a lengthy review, Tigres leveled the game 1-1 just seconds later.
“I saw a lot of space up front, so I started running,” Ferreira said of his would-be goal. “I just kept going thinking that was the play because it was 3v2 up top. When I got the ball I knew what I had to do and what I’m best at doing is 1-on-1 at the top of the box and I got my shot and it went in. “
“It’s frustrating to see him succeed like that and then it get called back and them score on the play after it,” Pomykal said of his Dallas teammate. “I don’t understand how having the ball in the keeper’s hands is the start of an attacking phase, but the referee saw it and called it back. We can’t complain, it’s what VAR is used for.”
Over the final 12 minutes of the match, the Homegrowns played a man up following a Tigres red card, but couldn’t find the mental strength to overcome the overturned goal even with the advantage. For much of the dying minutes, the MLS side sat back, but Pomykal found himself taking matters into his own hands trying to spark his teammates out of their funk and showcase his leadership amongst his peers.
“I wanted to win,” he said. “I think it got a little emotional towards the end of the game and frustrations started to take over a little bit, but I try to always be a leader and be the best I can be for my team. I think that we were better than them tonight, but the result didn’t show that.”
The match was also a chance for the duo to go head-to-head against another fellow FCD Academy product. Tigres defender Hector Montalvo spent one season with the Dallas U-18s in 2015-16 National Championship run, playing regular minutes alongside current first team faces like Pomykal and Reggie Cannon. After graduating from the Academy and attending Grand Canyon University for one year, Montalvo signed with the Tigres U-20s in early 2017 and has taken over a starting center back roll since.
“He’s one of my good friends and we keep in touch,” Pomykal said of his former teammate. “We talked before the game for 10-15 minutes in here and caught up a little bit. It was good to see him and awesome to see he’s succeeding in a big club like Tigres in Mexico.”
“It was a good challenge. We knew how he played, and he knew how I played and how Paxton played,” Ferreira added. “He knows the style that MLS plays so it was difficult to try and do something different against him. It was good to see him.”