A second-half goal from Roberto Mina was all FC Dallas needed to earn a hard fought 1-0 win over Portsmouth on Wednesday morning at the English Premier League side's training ground. Israeli trialist Kfir Edri picked out the Ecuadorian international inside the box, and the 20-year-old was able to slash past a defender before slotting the ball past the goalkeeper and into the far side of the net to give his team a 1-0 lead early in the second half.
Mina nearly added a second shortly after his opener, only to slide his shot just wide from inside the box. Mina's strike partner Abe Thompson nearly added a pair of goals himself as he twice beat the Portsmouth goalkeeper with a powerful right-footed blast, only to see each carom off of the left post and away from danger.
At the other end of the pitch, the starting back four of Greg Vanney, Michael Dello-Russo, Blake Wagner and Justin Moore, as well as David Wagenfuhr, who replaced Vanney after 65 minutes for his first appearance of the preseason, were able to stifle the Portsmouth attack, leaving few clear chances for Collins Mbesuma, who scored more than 30 goals in South Africa last season before coming to Fratton Park in August, and the rest of the Pompey attack.
Ray Burse, Jr., made a series of strong saves to keep a clean sheet in his first and only appearance for the Hoops on this leg of their preseason. However, Burse almost did not make it through the entire match as he was felled by a knee injury late in the second half. Pompey won a left wing corner kick, and as the ball came across the face of Burse's goal, he got his cleats tangled with an opposition attacker and stuck in his muddy six-yard box, forcing him to the ground in obvious discomfort. However, after receiving treatment, Burse was given the green light to continue.
The injury nearly presented assistant coaches Oscar Pareja and Marco Ferruzzi, who coached the side on Wednesday, with an interesting dilemma. All 11 players who played against Brentford were not in uniform and only did some light running and conditioning work prior to the match, meaning that Dario Sala was unavailable for selection. The team's other goalkeeper, Jeff Cassar, is currently sidelined, meaning that one of the Hoops field players would have had to go in goal to close out the match. Chris Gbandi and Clarence Goodson each offered to go in goal and began to warm up, but were not needed.
FC Dallas Lineup: Ray Burse Jr., Blake Wagner, Greg Vanney (David Wagenfuhr 65'), Michael Dello-Russo, Justin Moore, Aaron Pitchkolan, Dax McCarty (Mario Torres 65'), Miguel Guante, Kfir Edri, Abe Thompson, Roberto Mina.
After the match, a number of the FC Dallas players chatted and mingled with many of Portsmouth's first team regulars who had just completed a training session on a nearby field. Alan Knight caught up with a number of players, coaches and staff the he knew from his time with the club, Dario Sala and Arturo Alvarez spoke at length with Pompey's Argentine international Andres D'Alessandro while Simo Valakari signed one of his old Finland national team jersey's for Portsmouth's physio Gary Sadler, who previously worked with Derby County when Valakari was there.
Because Portsmouth was given the day off from training on Tuesday, the local media was out on Wednesday and they took the chance to catch up with Knight and Colin Clarke about their days with the club while also speaking at length regarding the strides that MLS has made since its inception in 1996. Pompey World, the interactive side of Portsmouth's website taped extended interviews with the duo while also taping much of the friendly for an in-depth piece on FC Dallas and MLS that the club will air later in the week and which will be available here at FCDallas.net in the near future.
This was the Hoops' final match of their two-week European tour that consisted of a week in La Manga, Spain and this past week on the South Coast of England. Colin Clarke's side finished the trip with a 3-2 record, scoring 10 goals and conceding four. Arturo Alvarez led the way with a pair of goals while Kenny Cooper, Miguel Guante, Dax McCarty, Roberto Mina, Drew Moor, Aaron Pitchkolan, Carlos Ruiz and Mark Wilson all added single tallies.
Following its two wins against Brentford and Portsmouth here in England, FC Dallas is now 8-2-0 in the preseason, with two matches left against Atlas (Wednesday, March 22 at Pizza Hut Park) and Kansas City (Saturday, March 25 in Moore, Okla.).
The team has leaves London's Gatwick International Airport Thursday morning at 10:15 a.m. on American Airlines and is expected to land back in Dallas at 2:30 p.m. CT after more than 10 hours of flying. The players will be off on Friday but will hold light training sessions on Saturday and Sunday before getting back to full swing on Monday.