FC Dallas kicked off its 25th season in high fashion with a 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union in Frisco in front of a crowd officially listed at 16,219. This story won’t have much of a breakdown of the game. If you need that, check out Nico’s recap article, here.)
There are six observations worth talking about after the big 2-0 win.
1) Newcomers Performed Well
Three newcomers saw action in the first game: Thiago Santos, Fafa Picault and Tanner Tessman.
Picault and Santos are both off-season acquisitions, while the ink was barely dry on Tessman’s homegrown contract signed only two days before the game.
Fafa looked very quick with the closing speed that has to be at least the second fastest on the team, behind Michael Barrios. He didn’t get many chances, but he showed that he is going to command respect from other teams and opposing defenses will not be able to double team Barrios the whole season.
He seems comfortable on both sides of the field as well, which should suit this team perfectly. Last year, Luchi moved Barrios from the left to the right at least two or three times a game. “Slow feet don’t eat” is Picault’s motto and if that is the case, he should be plenty full this season.
Santos was a major acquisition for the defensive midfield position this year. And he lived up to the billing. Not only did he control his part of the midfield, but he also showed some skill in moving forward with the ball when the Union defense was unwilling to mark him. It should be a fun season with him at that position.
Not only did Tessman impress many FC Dallas fans, he also caught the attention of Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney. Tessman had signed with Clemson in the off-season to be a dual-sport athlete, where he was set to be a kicker for the Tigers football team and play soccer in the purple and orange.
Here’s the Twitter link to Swinney’s comments about the future MLS star.
DABO ON LOSING FRESHMAN KICKER/SOCCER STAR TANNER TESSMANN TO MLS: “Dadgummit I should’ve kept my mouth shut!” Dabo referred to him as the T-Law of soccer in Dec. Tanner could still kick for #Clemson when pro career ends. #ALLIN
FULL?+ ETIENNE, MORE HERE: http://t.co/VxLmXH5BlF pic.twitter.com/TF1vMxXjye
— CUTigers.com (@CUTigers_com) March 3, 2020
Tessman looked confident on the field. He played the full 90 minutes and notched one assist on the Paxton Pomykal goal. He’s going to make it hard to put him on the bench when some of these other midfielders return from injury.
2) Paxton Pomykal
After sitting out the entire preseason schedule following his off-season surgery, Pomykal subbed in for Jesus Ferreira in the 76th minute against Philadelphia. He didn’t waste much time making an impact pestering the Union’s midfielder from the jump. He also scored his first goal of the season in stoppage time to seal the win for FC Dallas. The team is undoubtedly taking it slow with Pomykal on his playing time to make sure he is fully fit before returning to 90 minutes but he seems ready to go and pick up where he left off last season.
3) The Food at the Stadium
Last week’s story was about the ambiance and the new food choices at the stadium, especially the Hot Cheeto Chili Pie. First, the flavor of the chili and the elotes was pretty good for stadium concession food.
Unfortunately, the Cheetos were left under the heating lamp for a little too long and they got sort of rubbery and weird. So, a wise fan should go and try one but get one made fresh, where the Cheetos have a little crunch. And make sure to get a cold beer with it to tamp down some of the heat, because it lives up to its name.
4) Parking is Weird
One change to the parking situation is now all the lots around the stadium are open to Gen Pop (the general population) and not just season ticket holders. Everyone can park in the Toyota lots for $10 (season ticket holders are free). This means longer lines both getting into and out of the stadium. To help the wait time a little bit, fans should probably plan on arriving early, maybe at least 45 minutes before match time. Then after the game, sit around in a lawn chair in the parking lot and rehash the game and talk about how “you would have done it all differently.”
5) Ambiance Inside the Stadium
There still seems to be a lot of empty seats inside the stadium. That is a disappointment considering places like Nashville, playing it’s inaugural home game, had 50,000 fans. It helped a little bit knowing that in FC Dallas’ (then known as the Dallas Burn) first game at the Cotton Bowl was well attended too. According to an interview with former Burn coach Dave Dir, that first game drew 35,000 fans. Not a bad start. Don’t know if that means the new will wear off in other places or if FC Dallas really has some work to do to make sure that fans get their money’s worth driving out to Frisco for the games.
6) Weather was Perfect
Also, the weather was perfect. After last year’s first two games when the wind was blowing at the high temperature was about 3 degrees (LOL, just kidding but almost), it was nice to have a game in the low 70s to kick off the season. It was a little windy but overall, it was very nice.
Next up for FC Dallas is Montreal on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Toyota Stadium. Fans will be treated to not only the return of Maxi Urruti but $1 beers and hotdogs throughout the stadium. Hope to see you there.
What were your thoughts of the first game for FC Dallas?
Featured Image: Jessica Meyer/FC Dallas