That was none other than Jesús Ferreira, who struck for a brace in FCD's 3-1 comeback win over LA Galaxy on Matchday 2. But for the 22-year-old, all that mattered was notching the club's first win of 2023 after he was held off the scoresheet in FCD's season-opening, 1-0 loss to Minnesota United FC on MLS is Back weekend.
"We needed to give it to the fans," Ferreira said. "We had to see what we did wrong in the first game that we weren't able to take three points and apply it to this game. And I think the team was excited and ready for the challenge."
Ferreira is continuing his star turn that reached new levels last year, the byproduct of a Young Designated Player deal that paved the way for 18 goals and six assists in 33 games.
That form earned Ferreira a spot on the US men's national team's roster for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Ferreira saw his only tournament appearance come during a 3-1, Round of 16 loss to the Netherlands as he started in place of an injured Josh Sargent, ultimately being lifted after the halftime break in favor of Gio Reyna.
"I think he, overall, [used] that learning experience that he had there to grow," FCD head coach Nico Estévez said of the homegrown star. "We can't forget that he's a very young player still [and] it's his second year playing as a No. 9."
Despite such a limited role in Qatar, Estévez pointed to Ferreira's "amazing experience" as a sign of his continued development.
"I think we have to be very calm with him, help him to keep growing as a person, and as a player, and we'll see what he can do in the future," Estévez said.
It wasn't just the Ferreira show, even though his 56th- and 64th-minute tallies were crucial. Alan Velasco leveled the match in first-half stoppage time, while Paul Arriola nabbed two assists on the evening.
Those wingers, alongside Ferreira, formed one of MLS's top attacking trios in 2022 – fueling an Audi MLS Cup Playoffs return and No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.
“I think the three up front have chemistry, we're building chemistry and learning from each other every day," Ferreira said. "For it to come alive in a game and work out, then see the outcome be a goal is always amazing."
There's even more room for Ferreira to blossom, his head coach noted, with this good form arriving roughly three weeks before the USMNT return to Concacaf Nations League action vs. Grenada (March 24).
"I think it's an amazing adventure what he has in front of him, and we're here to help him and to guide him in that adventure," Estévez said. "But we have to also be reasonable and know that humans have moments, and I think he's having a moment of growth that will help him to overcome some things that are important for a young player like him."