LAFC brought the star power to Toyota Stadium on Saturday night, but after 90 minutes it was the FC Dallas homegrown who looked like the biggest star of all.

In the 59th minute of the match between FC Dallas and LAFC on Saturday night, thousands of camera phones were lifted into the air to record the entrance of Gareth Bale into the match. Although the game was played at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, muted cheers welcomed the Welsh superstar into the game as he replaced star teammate Carlos Vela, whose jersey could be seen on a number of spectators throughout the stadium. But by the time the 90 minutes were up and the final whistle was blown, the cameras and attention were all on a very different kind of MLS star: FC Dallas homegrown forward Jesus Ferreira.

Ferreira is perhaps the first MLS star player to have his entire career tied almost completely to MLS. As the son of former FC Dallas star and MLS MVP David Ferreira, Jesus moved to the United States with his father when he signed with FCD in 2009 at the age of 9 years old. Ferreira spent his entire youth career with FC Dallas and signed a homegrown contract in 2017. His only time as a professional spent away from FCD was a loan away to the Tulsa Roughnecks (now known as FC Tulsa) in 2018, where he scored 6 goals in 14 appearances as a 17 year old. Ferreira received call ups to US Youth National Teams even before he obtained his citizenship and is now virtually a lock to go to Qatar for the World Cup this year. Unlike other MLS stars of the past and present, he has not come to the league following a successful career in Europe or elsewhere, he has not come to the league from South America hoping to use MLS as a stepping stone to Europe (though that’s not to say Jesus does not have ambitions to play at the highest level), he did not play for any non-MLS youth teams, he did not do any kind of lengthy training stint with a European club and he did not play college soccer. In many ways, Jesus is exactly the player that MLS as a whole hopes that every team can start developing regularly. He is FC Dallas, and therefore MLS, through and through.

And he is well and truly a star player in MLS now. Jesus looked extremely promising from the start of his career, scoring a goal in his first ever professional appearance in 2017, excelling on loan in USL the following season and then taking a starting position in 2019 when Luchi Gonzalez took the reins. He had a down season in 2020 and dealt with adversity and a lot of responsibility, tasked with being the team’s primary playmaker, largely from more of a midfield position in 2020 and 2021. Jesus excelled in 2021 but the team as a whole struggled and fellow homegrown Ricardo Pepi took the spotlight with his impressive goals tally and interest from some of the biggest clubs in the world. But 2022 has seen Jesus truly make his mark on the league and the young homegrown has truly made FC Dallas his team. At the time of writing, he leads the league in non-penalty goals with 18 and has added 5 assists. Only Hany Mukhtar, Sebastian Driussi and Daniel Gazdag have more overall goal contributions. He has already tied the club record for goals in a season and looks very likely to become that record holder some time in the next three games.

To be clear, Ferreira has been playing well from the very start of the season, but no match, to this point at least, showed his star power quite as well as Saturday’s match. With FCD having been playing up a man since Ryan Hollingshead’s unfortunate 13th minute red card, the game entered its final stages having hit a predictable pattern for the FC Dallas faithful. FCD had given up a poor goal right at the end of the first half, a poorly played offside trap leading to a Chicho Arango goal to give LAFC a huge boost and allow them to sit even deeper in their own half. Dallas had lobbed cross after cross into the box and LAFC had turned back every Dallas opportunity. It took a bit of quick thinking from USMNT teammate Paul Arriola in the 78th minute, capitalizing on an LAFC switch off, to finally get Jesus a clear sight of Maxime Crepeau’s goal, and Ferreira finished expertly, putting an outside of the foot shot neatly past the LAFC keeper to tie the game at 1. Three minutes later, Ferreira set up for a free kick at a seemingly impossible shooting angle and proceeded to curl a shot past Crepeau into the far side netting (Gareth Bale might have gotten a slight touch on the ball, which would certainly be the most noteworthy thing he did in his 31 minutes on the pitch). To celebrate, Jesus simply turned around to a raucous and adoring crowd and spread his arms wide, soaking in the adulation and receiving his well deserved star treatment.

The obvious big question now is where does Jesus go from here? It seems increasingly clear that Jesus is ready to take the next step beyond MLS, it isn’t very often that 21 year olds are among the league leaders in goals and goal contributions. But he also signed a big money DP contract prior to the 2022 season and has talked about wanting to win trophies with his hometown club before making a move. Obviously, strong performances in Qatar may generate offers that both FCD and Jesus simply can’t turn down. But do not be shocked if Jesus sticks around for another year if FCD isn’t able to finally win MLS Cup in 2022. Whatever the future has in store for Jesus Ferreira, it is clear that he will shine brightly.

What do you think the future has in store for the young homegrown star? Let me know in the comments below!

Featured Image: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Comments are closed.

Check Also

FC Dallas 2022 Player Grades: Midfielders and Forwards

With the 2022 MLS season at a close, we’ll look at the entire 2022 roster and hand o…