FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas opened its seven-game preseason schedule with a 3-2 win over USL Championship side OKC Energy Wednesday afternoon at Toyota Soccer Center.
“It was positive to see the group play against competition that outsourced and not from within the squad,” Luchi Gonzalez said postgame. “We tried some new things in terms of formation and tactics I think it'll help us be more unpredictable and fluid. I thought the boys responded really well to it.”
The match featured two very different FC Dallas lineups on either side of the break.
The first lineup included Jesse Gonzalez, Callum Montgomery, Matt Hedges, first-round draft pick Nkosi Burgess, Bryan Acosta, Edwin Cerrillo, John Nelson, Ryan Hollingshead, Santiago Mosquera, Michael Barrios and Zdenek Ondrasek.
Mosquera opened the scoring early after cutting in from the left and squeezing a shot through the hands of OKC’s keeper at the near post. Dallas doubled its lead through Ondrasek after a clever backheel flick from Hollingshead released Barrios on the end line and the Colombian’s low cross found Kobra for a tap-in. Despite one nervy moment at the back when Hedges lost his footing, Dallas was able to comfortably carry its 2-0 lead into halftime.
As expected, there were wholesale personnel changes for the second half. Burgess and Montgomery were the only remaining starters as Jimmy Maurer replaced Gonzalez in goal. New signings Eddie Munjoma and Fafa Picault got their first taste of action for FC Dallas, as did draft picks Manu Ferriol and Derek Waldeck. North Texas SC’s Imanol Almaguer also got his first chance in FCD's midfield. Thomas Roberts, Ema Twumasi and Ricardo Pepi rounded out Luchi's second half lineup.
“It was good,” Picault said on his FCD debut. “I found my legs after being out for two days, so getting 45 minutes was good for the legs to try and stay sharp. It’s a week and a half in, so it’s important everyone gets on the same page in terms of tactics and what coach wants. It’s important to learn about each other because it’s one team and we want to learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses and play to those strengths.”
Early into the second half, Energy FC’s Kodia Iida pulled one back for the visitors but Dallas restored its two-goal lead via an own goal stemming from a Thomas Roberts corner kick. Jaime Chavez cut the lead to one goal yet again with a curling effort from the edge of the box but Dallas was able to hold out and earn a 3-2 victory in its first match of 2020.
“I thought there were some really interesting highs and some lows that are normal in a preseason game that we need to fix,” Gonzalez said. “Overall, (it was) fine, steady, we’ve got to keep working and we’ve got a recovery session tomorrow which will involve the ball. And now we prepare for the trip to San Diego.”