Jesús Ferreira makes FC Dallas history: "We need him"


As Jesús Ferreira goes, so does FC Dallas.

The Western Conference club’s 2023 season, in many respects, can be boiled down to that simple statement. And it certainly was the case Wednesday evening, with the US men’s national team forward scoring twice in a 3-1 win at Real Salt Lake

Ferreira’s performance was both cathartic and momentous, putting him second in the club history books for all-time goals (49) – surpassing Kenny Cooper but remaining behind leader Jason Kreis (97).

The brace, which included a 62nd-minute penalty kick and 71st-minute curler, provided Ferreira’s first MLS regular-season goals in over three months (not since June 7). Two USMNT hat-tricks in the Concacaf Gold Cup and a Leagues Cup playmaker role filled in the in-between period, as well as an MLS All-Star appearance vs. Premier League powerhouse Arsenal. But league tallies for FCD were slipping by. 

“I had a great conversation with [Ferreira] earlier this week. We talked about the frustration of not scoring goals in the league,” head coach Nico Estévez said postgame. “And I told him he just hasn’t played many [MLS] games after the Gold Cup. 

“It’s been two or three months without scoring in the league but that’s because he wasn’t able to play many games over that time because of the Leagues Cup. So it seems like it was a lot but it really wasn’t that long. He really only played two [league] games, Atlanta and Seattle. But it’s great that he keeps breaking records and scoring goals because we need him scoring.”

Ferreira, for his part, reflected on the historic nature of his second-half heroics in the come-from-behind victory over RSL – which also helped snap a three-match winless streak.

“It feels amazing. It’s something that I’ve been trying to achieve,” said Ferreira. “I grew up in this club and played for this club since I was 9, so being in the history books is amazing. I’m happy that my teammates put me in that history book.”

Postseason push

Just as important, FC Dallas’ Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs aspirations may stop and start with Ferreira’s form. He’s now on 12g/3a for the season, one year removed from posting 18g/6a in 2022 after being rewarded with a Designated Player contract.

After beating RSL, Los Toros Tejanos leapfrogged Minnesota United FC for the West’s ninth-and-final playoff spot. They’re on 38 points (10W-10L-8D) with six games to go, hoping to ascend the standings as Decision Day (Oct. 21) nears.

“We needed to get the three points,” said winger Paul Arriola, who scored in the 56th minute. “I think we are looking well despite having a tough season dealing with injuries. We have to win as many games as possible to get into the playoffs.”

Injuries have hampered FCD for much of 2023, as Arriola noted. He’s been limited to roughly 1,200 minutes played (16 games), ditto for midfielder Paxton Pomykal. Star attacker Alan Velasco (right calf), forward Bernard Kamungo (right shoulder) and midfielder Sebastian Lletget (hamstring) all missed the RSL trip. Right back Geovane Jesus recently suffered a season-ending ACL injury.

Amid the adversity, Dallas are staying optimistic before hosting the playoff-bound Columbus Crew on Saturday (8:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).

“This was an important victory because at the end we are also in there fighting for a spot in the playoffs with the top teams,” said marque summertime signing Asier Illarramendi. “This victory gives us some confidence because, as I said before, we are working well and it was important for us to gain a little bit of confidence in ourselves, in what we are doing.”