Frenzy in Frisco: What FC Dallas' Loss against Messi Means
Sunday night exceeded our expectations as FC Dallas fans, so of course, we should come away hopeful and disappointed.
Like many of you, I posted up on my couch on Sunday night with nervous tingling.
I had my mind made up that either FC Dallas was going to go down early and struggle to find a way back into the game or they were going to meet the moment.
Both things happened on Sunday evening as Inter Miami came to Frisco in front of a raucous crowd which included celebrities, casuals, and diehards.
Oh and lots and lots of fake Messi jerseys.
When Messi scored first, a goal that probably was rightly called back on the field only to be reversed by VAR, the thought that ran through my head was - FC Dallas isn’t up for this. Messi is the world best. You can’t give him that kind of space. Of course, that’s easy for me to say from my couch. I’m not out there scrambling around.
But then, well, FC Dallas met the moment. Facundo Quignon had one of those goals that nearly cemented him as an FC Dallas legend, an unsaveable ball that showed the Argentinian had something to prove in front of the sellout crowd. Bernard Kamungo followed that up with a counter attack that showed the young striker’s incredible poise and talent.
To the end of the first half, FC Dallas was the better team, controlling play and unfortunate not to have at least one more goal. Nkosi Tafari was incredibly brilliant in the middle, frustrating Messi over and over again. Credit to Geovane Jesus for a strong performance. Maybe Jesus Ferreira over-complicated things on his opportunities, but FC Dallas had two more goals which seemed to put things away, including a fabulous strike or cross from Velasco.
It was a night to remember for Velasco who had one of those games that might open the door to that big transfer to Europe he dreams about.
And so, yeah, the evening was going as well it could, until it all came crashing down.
Marco Farfan, playing a decent game, made a mistake that had people wondering if the whole match was rigged. How do you head that ball into your own net, man?
And then the late free kick in a tough spot took the wind out of the home crowd, helped by Lionel Messi’s cheaty behavior to push the ball over and over to his preferred spot. (If you haven’t seen the video, it’s something else.)
FC Dallas collapsed in front of their home fans, flailing out via penalty kicks after a particularly embarassing miss from Paxton Pomykal.
You can tell it was an emotional match, intense and spirited, but Dallas was up 4-2 late and couldn’t see the game out. Another opportunity for FC Dallas fans to long for a team that can get over the hump from being good to great.
Looking back at Nico Estevez’ game management, you can certainly ask questions. He got the starters right, but the subs weren’t ready or just didn’t meet the moment. Paxton Pomykal in particular struggled. Eugene Ansah wasn’t the right move. Paul Arriola could have done more. Do you make subs in those moments knowing how tight it was and that a fresh set of legs was going to take a moment to get up to speed? These are not easy ansquers for any coach to deal with. When subs go right, you look like a great coach. Nico made his choices, and in the end, it cost his team a huge victory.
And with the circus and media frenzy around the match, you could understand players coming in off the bench with nerves in overdrive.
Paxton Pomykal’s penalty miss is tough to swallow. Paxton is young and will grow from this. He wasn’t up for it. He will learn from it, but he is another player that folks were hoping would take his game from solid to special. He hasn’t yet. There is time.
Geovane Jesus started to look like an FC Dallas player. I don’t know if Twumasi can earn his job back from the youngster.
Facundo Quignon has a few more games to prove that he deserves the starting spot over a big time Spanish player.
Nkosi Tafari should get a massive contract extension sooner rather than later.
I love Alan Velasco and I love Bernard Kamungo.
There are lessons for FC Dallas to learn. There are veteran players along the way who can help the team get stronger and better all over the pitch. This team is getting the healthy and strong.
But there is also a missed opportunity to show to the world, and specifically Dallas-Ft Worth, that you are a championship hungry team. On Sunday night, that dream, at least in the Leagues Cup, fizzled.
What a night. What a performance. What a disappointment.
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