FRISCO, Texas — With less than two minutes remaining in regulation of a 2-2 deadlock, FC Dallas looked like it was heading to extra time against Sporting KC in 2018's Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Round of 16. Carlos Gruezo had deflected a clearance to the top of FCD's 16-yard box, which fell to the left foot of Sporting's Yohan Croizet. Croizet volleyed the ball into the top-left corner of the net followed by a thundering roar from Children's Mercy Park, and in one swift kick, FC Dallas was knocked out of the Open Cup.
This season, FCD has a chance at redemption to make it to the quarterfinals of the Cup, something it hasn't done in two seasons. This time, FCD will stay in Dallas and host its Round of 16 matchup with New Mexico United, a USL club that was founded just one year ago.
“That’s a team that we respect — absolutely," FC Dallas Head Coach Luchi Gonzalez said. "They earned their opportunity to be where they are. They’re well coached — I’ve known Troy for many years — a good young coach who’s implementing concepts. We’re looking forward to it.”
This season's Open Cup run has been a bit different for FC Dallas from 2018. The team put on a dominant display against OKC Energy FC, winning the match 4-0, and the scoreline speaks for itself. FCD didn't give up many chances, especially within its own box, and the match featured four different goal-scorers as well en route to a dominant victory.
New Mexico's underdog status will be another key difference in 2019's Open Cup. FC Dallas hasn't faced a USL opponent this late into the tournament since 2014 when FCD defeated NASL's Carolina Railhawks, 5-2, in the quarterfinals that season. Since then, every opponent FC Dallas faced after the 4th Round of the tournament had been MLS sides.
New Mexico United comes into this matchup following a 2-2 stalemate in which it won on the road in penalty kicks. United controlled possession for most of the match, as style in which FC Dallas also likes to play. It will be the third-straight match in which New Mexico will play on the road.
“We want to put pressure on the ball," Gonzalez said. "We want to make sure that the build-up for them is not clear and that we’re able to take away time and space to get on the ball and just make it a difficult game for them. I’m sure they’re planning the same with us, and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”