FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas came back from two goals down to win 3-2 in its preseason match away to USL Championship side San Antonio FC at Toyota Field Wednesday night.
“This is a great environment to play in and that’s a very competitive team in San Antonio,” Luchi Gonzalez said afterwards. “We appreciate the competition and we thank them for inviting us. There were some moments where we almost didn’t get the result. But in that volatility there’s growth; there’s development. We’ll analyze the game and see what we want to do better. But we appreciated the fight and competitive spirit to come back and turn the game around.”
Gonzalez fielded a strong starting XI featuring Jesse Gonzalez in goal and a back four of Ryan Hollingshead, Reto Ziegler, Bressan and Reggie Cannon. Newcomer Thiago Santos started in midfield alongside Edwin Cerrillo with Jesús Ferreira playing just ahead of them. Zdenek Ondrasek led the line for FCD with Fafa Picault and the ever-present Michael Barrios on the wings.
The first half was largely devoid of chances for either side. Dallas came closest to opening the scoring in the 20th minute when Ondrasek connected with Barrios’ corner kick but the Czech’s looping header was cleared off the line.
The second 45 minutes were much more eventful. San Antonio took the lead from the penalty spot after Cannon’s sliding challenged was deemed to be just inside the box. Six minutes later, SAFC doubled its lead with a well-placed shot into the bottom corner of Gonzalez’s goal.
But Dallas wasn’t deterred. Substitute Ricardo Pepi halved the deficit after 84 minutes, tapping home Barrios’ low cross after a well-worked move down the right flank. Barely two minutes later, Barrios capitalized on a giveaway in the box from SAFC’s goalkeeper and tucked the ball home to even the score.
Two minutes from time, captain Reto Ziegler stepped up and scored a sensational curling free kick from an acute angle to give FCD the 3-2 comeback victory. While still it’s only preseason, Luchi's men showed a similar belief and never-say-die attitude that was present in last season’s extra time playoff defeat to Seattle Sounders.
“I think the mentality of the team was fantastic,” Ziegler told fcdallas.com postgame. “We never give up, that’s something we have as a team and we showed it last season too. If we can avoid letting goals in, of course that would be better. But it’s better to make mistakes now and be ready for the league.”
FC Dallas travels to Florida next week for its final preseason matches against Philadelphia Union and Inter Miami CF.