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FC Dallas Shuts Out Philadelphia Union, 2-0, in its 25th Season Opener

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FC Dallas kicks off its 25th season with a 2-0 shutout win at home against Philadelphia Union. The second half goals from Zdenek Ondrasek and Paxton Pomykal extend FC Dallas’ unbeaten home opener record to 11 matches.

Game Summary
First Half:
  • 18’ – Barrios tests Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake off a Picault cross from the left for the first shot on goal for FC Dallas.
  • 31’ – Jesús Ferreira goes close with an effort just inside the 18, sending a curling shot wide of the top right corner. 
  • 39’ – Jesse Gonzalez makes his first save of the night after saving a right-footed shot from Kacper Przybylko.
Second Half:
  • 50’ – Thiago Santos has a great chance to put his side in front, but puts it into the side netting.
  • 61’ – Kobra scores the first goal of the match with an expertly taken finish outside the 18. The striker created space for himself with a great first touch and volleyed it home with his right foot to kick off 2020 in style.
  • 90’+1’ – Paxton Pomykal scores the second goal of the night after a good link up play with Tanner Tessmann inside the box.

Lineups: 
FC Dallas — Jesse Gonzalez; Ryan Hollingshead, Reto Ziegler, Matt Hedges, Reggie Cannon; Thiago Santos, Tanner Tessmann, Jesús Ferreira (Paxton Pomykal – 76’) ; Fafa Picault (Bressan – 65’), Zdenek Ondrasek, Michael Barrios (Ricardo Pepi – 90’+3’).

Substitutes not used — Jimmy Maurer, John Nelson, Bryan Reynolds, Santiago Mosquera.

Philadelphia Union — Andre Blake; Matt Real (Jack Elliott – 90’), Mark McKenzie, Jakob Glesnes, Raaymon Gaddis; Jamiro Monteiro, Warren Creavalle (Anthony Fontana – 79’), Alejandro Bedoya; Brenden Aaronson (Ilsinho – 66’); Sergio Santos, Kacper Przybylko.

Substitutes not used — Joe Bendik, Olivier Mbaizo, Michee Ngalina, José Martínez.

Scoring Summary:
FCD: Zdenek Ondrasek (Jesús Ferreira) — 61’
FCD: Paxton Pomykal (Tanner Tessmann) — 90’+1’

Misconduct Summary:
PHI: Matt Real (caution) – 26’
PHI: Jakob Glesnes (caution) – 59’
PHI: Warren Creavalle (caution) – 67’
PHI: Sergio Santos (caution)  – 84’
FCD: Zdenek Ondrasek (caution  – 86’

Referee: Robert Sibiga
Assistant Referees: Jason White, Eric Weisbrod
4th Official: Elton García
VAR Official: Kevin Terry Jr.

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FC Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez
Opening thoughts on tonight’s match…
Number one: have to be happy with the win. It’s the right way to start the season and our objectives. I thought we were ready. We had a good preseason.

I felt the energy was fantastic. At halftime, we had some clarity on some simple things that could change this game and the boys did that. Credit to [Zdenek Ondrasek] to create a goal out of almost nothing. That’s not an easy goal to score. But more credit to “Kobra” to get two or three clearances in our box and to help us defend and get behind the ball. We need all our guys to help us win and be a solution at any moment.

Look at young man Tanner [Tessmann] just coming into the picture here in preseason and earning the opportunity tonight and taking advantage of it. [I’m] really proud of him and I’m proud of the group, because the group embraced him, helped him, supported him and believed in him. They showed it and that’s why they’re there for each other.

I always want to value shots on target more. But we need to generate more. We need to generate more shots and crosses in the open play. We need to be critical in terms of controlling more of the game and having more of the ball.

Thank you to our fans. The energy was phenomenal on Opening Night. To feel their energy [that] pushed us, it helped us a lot.

On switching the formation to 3-5-2…
[Philadelphia] played a double nine, so we found ourselves two versus two on the backline. Thiago was doing a good job of helping the center backs, Tanner as well, but we just needed cover behind, so we went into three center backs. That allowed Ryan and Reggie to be a little more divided to get pressure on the ball up the field.

On Fafa Picault’s performance tonight…
Fafa had great energy. He was good in the press, good in the recoveries. Offensively, he tried to get in those duals in behind and get services. It was almost there. I know he wants to give more offensively, but he was very important for us tonight.

On Zdenek Ondrasek’s performance…
Kobra has been very focused to just be the best today for the club. I know that [it is] a dream for him to represent Czech Republic. I know that it is an important objective of his, but he knows that doing that is by doing the best for FC Dallas today.

We really appreciate him and his mentality. We support him to go [to the Euro’s]. When he is gone, it will be tough, but we have to have a solution in the group to step it up. We have players that can play at the nine: Jesus, Pepi and even Fafa. Franco Jara is going to come in the summer. I believe in this group to have someone step up in there.

I’m proud when these guys go to the national team. I don’t want to lose them, but it is my job to develop and compete.

FC Dallas forward Zdenek “Kobra” Ondrasek
On his opening goal…
You can’t score if you don’t try. It bounced perfectly and I just closed my eyes and hit it. And I hit it well, I guess.

How important was it to score and maintain last season’s momentum…
I don’t know how important it was for me, of course I wanted to score, and we wanted to win. Everyone knows that it was so important to win because it wasn’t our best game. We were struggling a little bit, we didn’t have many chances in the first half. In the second half we were almost just defending. Sometimes you have bad games but it’s important to win these games anyway. Everyone knows it has to be better.

How important was tonight’s win to start the season…
If you want to be the best and play at the top you have to win. We remembered last year againt New England it was 0-0 and it looked like preseason. We are happy that we won, it’s what we wanted. But like I said, it has to be better.

FC Dallas midfielder Tanner Tessman
Thoughts on debut….
It felt great. Those guys behind me, my teammates, had my back. They gave me confidence. For me, it was a normal game. The fans were greta. They gave us energy and we got the win and that’s what we wanted to do and start the season strong. Now, we look forward to next week.

On playing at Toyota Stadium as a first-team player…
It was amazing. It was a dream come true. I’ve been working hard for four years to get this opportunity and it finally came. I think I took advantage of it and our team did great. I gotta give them credit because they gave me confidence. They gave me the ball and believed in me so give the credit to FC Dallas.

On recording his first assist with Paxton’s goal…
I just made that sprint to get in front of Pax because I knew he needed support. He played me a ball and he’s a great player. He made a double move, came behind my shoulder and I left the ball and he put it in the net. All credit to Pax, he was great coming on and changed the game. That’s what we needed from our subs and now we move forward.

How preseason helped him be ready for the game…
I think the preseason definitely helped me in this moment. I played against Inter Miami and Philly already, so that was great to kind of get the feel of it. This was just another game. The first couple of games on the trip were nerve-racking but they gave me confidence and now I am where I am. The trips were amazing and great experiences but now we move forward.

FC Dallas midfielder Paxton Pomykal
On how important it was to get a win in season opener…
Oh, it’s massive. It’s a massive start to the season. I don’t think we played our best, but we won so, keep our health is really important. It’s better to get points and to win it’s great to shut out opponents but also even though we didn’t play that great in my opinion winning just feels great.

On his goal and Tanner Tessmann assisting him…
Tanner literally did his entrance physical yesterday and started today so all props to him for being confident, coming in, we all had his back and he delivered a professional performance from a guy that’s on the team so hat’s off to him for an assist in his first game is great. I thanked him earlier for giving it to me but yeah I just saw space in front of me so I took it and I don’t know I don’t really remember exactly how it happened, I knew that I just wanted to put it on target and it just barely trickled in so, yeah.

On how he feels after recovering from offseason surgery… 
I feel great. A 10 right now. Adrenaline. Yeah, it’s all about reps now and this was really my first week full training. Even had a conversation with Luchi on Wednesday about just basically relaying information that I wanted to be on the roster this weekend and that I felt great heading in to Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and that’s the conversation we had. He really stressed to me and it’s hard to put a player in an important game like that when we’re winning 1-0. I didn’t even get any minutes in preseason, so for him to have that trust in me means a lot and to get a goal and to score that at the back of the net is really cool.

Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin
General thoughts on the match…
I think it was your usual preseason game, where both teams weren’t at their sharpest. I haven’t said that being on the road. We had 15 shots, but we needed more to hit the target. We were a little bit off in the final third tonight. I felt like our back four was pretty organized. Andre made a couple key saves to keep you in the game which you always need on the road. Warren Creavalle did a great job breaking up plays. We are just a little bit off in the final pass, our movements at times, dribbling when we are supposed to shoot, and dribbling in the box and maybe passing too early. It’s a little bit of lack of cohesion in the attack. The guys fought very hard. In these week one games, it’s always the team that doesn’t make the mistakes that win. If you rewind our goal, little details and things become big. We kicked the goal kick out of bounds and then they throw it in, and a through ball goes underneath Brenden and then that ends in a goal. We’ll learn from it, its small margins. Still a couple of positives from the performances but there are things we need to clean up before going to LA.

On Warren Creavelle’s performance
There’s a couple of moments where you look at him and you go look at him, he’s done. He gets his second and third wind and continues to make plays and work for the team. I’m happy with the way he played, he fought very hard. That is the kind of performances we need from all of our guys. We need the 11 of us to have good performances. Not everyone has to be great, but everybody has to be good for us to win games. It feels like an opportunity lost tonight. It felt like an even game, and a goal from nothing. It’s a great shot but I think he mis traps it and I think there are things we could do better on that goal. Credit to Dallas they get the result. It’s very fine margins and small things that make the difference in those early games of the season. It feels like we missed an opportunity tonight because neither teams were great.

Philadelphia Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya
General thoughts on the game…
I personally felt pretty good. I thought in the first half we played pretty well. We come here as an away team in the first game of the season. I felt like we did some good things like staying compact. They had a couple of good chances. Andre [Blake] came up big like he should at times. We had a few chances, but if we are sharper in front of goal, we could have been up. I think the first goal we gave up I think is very weak. It was out of nothing, we let the guy turn and shoot from about 25 yards outside and nobody stepped to him and he just hits it home. Then we are playing from behind and its tough. First game of the season there is some positives. Like I said we need to be sharper in front of goal, we got to be able to take our chances. Defensively I thought we were able to turn them over at times. I think it was that first goal that we hit a bad ball and then Brenden Aaronson couldn’t intercept it in the midfield. After it was all like a domino effect kind of thing and I felt like we let a soft goal. Overall, first game of the season there is a lot of positives to take and we can’t get too discouraged, we got to keep our heads up. We got LAFC next away, it’s a tough match up and if defensively we can stay compact and sift together and working together for each other then we can get a result.

On the tables turning after last year endings
Giving up that goal took a little bit out of us. It could have been a different story, like when they had scored maybe we could have scored off that turnover in the middle. A long ball from the left to the right and Brenden just missing on that interception and then we get punished. It’s one of those plays we’ll look back. As a striker they [FC Dallas] are only playing with one number nine and we have two center backs, somebody has got to step up to him because you can’t let him turn and shoot like that. Overall, it’s not too bad, in the first half we were pretty solid both defensively and going forward.

Philadelphia Union defender Jakob Glesnes
On MLS debut…
Of course, it is hard when we lose. It is something good we can take with us and something we have to learn from. We need to be better. We want to [get] points in every game and if we had kept the 0 a little longer, maybe we could have gotten something more, but when we let them score so early in the second half, then it was hard in an away game like this.

On the first goal…
I was thinking that he was touching the ball to the next player and was running again, so I stepped up a little bit. I should be tighter to him and so he couldn’t turn around and shoot like this.

On preseason and game one debut…
Of course, that was all I wanted when I came. Like you said, it is hard competition for the place, us center backs, but everyone wants to play, so I’m happy that I got the opportunity today.