FRISCO, Texas — His games are usually played a day after MLS league games and in front of sparse crowds, but FC Dallas’ Andrew Wiedeman is beginning to see the fruits of his labor through the return of the MLS Reserve League.
On Tuesday, Wiedeman and the FC Dallas reserves had the opportunity to play an exhibition against the Venezuela national team, who are in the midst of preparations for July’s Copa América, and tied the South American side 2-2.
“It was pretty cool,” said Wiedeman after the game. “It’s a good national side and we held our own against them.”
The Generation Adidas product made perhaps the play of the game in the 32th minute, chesting down a cross from Maykel Galindo and volleying the ball into the net from just inside the 18-yard box.
The goal was not the first eye-popping shot from the former Cal standout.
In mid-March, FCD traveled to Monterrey to play Tigres UANL in the first leg of the Rio Grande Plate. Wiedeman entered the game at halftime and immediately made an impact, launching a goal from 35 yards out that briefly tied the game at 1-1.
The 21st overall draft pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft has seen his professional experience grow with the return of the Reserve League, and while he receives a majority of his playing time at right back, Wiedeman has the attacking experience to contribute up front.
“In college, I was playing forward, so that’s always been one of my better skillsets — finishing,” said Wiedeman.
In his three seasons at Cal, Wiedeman scored 30 goals and recorded 15 assists en route to being named to the All-Pac-10 squad three years in a row.
But under head coach Schellas Hyndman, Wiedeman volunteered to move to defense to help a team that was thin at the position and potentially get more playing time.
Hyndman, known for having attack-minded outside backs that can cause trouble up and down the sidelines, admitted that that was the original plan for Wiedeman.
“That’s what we had hoped for,” said Hyndman, “but he is a flank player or a striker and I think what we need to do — in all fairness to him — is get him back into those positions because he’s starting to show some good qualities.
“I think, in the long run, it may put him in a position where he develops better and could be a better contributor.”
In 2010, without the MLS Reserve League, Hyndman might not have seen as much from Wiedeman due to a lack of playing time.
“Last year, we had maybe a hand full of games — three or four games — throughout the year for reserves, so they were few and far between,” said Wiedeman. “There’s only so much you can do in practice and coach will beat on that all the time, ‘You need to show well in these games,’ so it’s nice that we have a lot more to be able to show what we can do and the experience is getting better.”
And if Wiedeman continues his form, perhaps he will join the list of Reserve League success stories that includes Jamaica’s Omar Cummings and US national team forward Chris Wondolowski.