FC Dallas made history on Wednesday night, defeating defending Mexican champions Pumas UNAM 1-0 in the first game of CONCACAF Group C play to become the first MLS side in 25 attempts to grab three points on Mexican soil.
Midfielder Marvin Chávez provided the heroics for FC Dallas, scoring a second-half goal for the visiting side on a rainy night in Mexico City, and goalkeeper Kevin Hartman set the tone with several timely saves, including a one-on-one against Juan Carlos Cacho in the third minute.
Left back Jair Benítez started the goal-scoring play in the 65th minute, launching a low shot from distance that bounced off the right post and landed at Chávez’s feet. The Honduran international made no mistake with the ball, top-shelving it over goalkeeper Odin Patiño’s hands and creating history in the process.
FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman fielded his strongest team, including new acquisition Daniel Cruz in the starting XI for the first time since arriving from Belgium.
Pumas UNAM coach Guillermo Vásquez went the opposite way, starting a youthful contingent and resting many of his players two days removed from a league game against Santos Laguna.
While the visiting side had the last word, Pumas found themselves on the offensive early in the game, earning their first corner inside the first minute.
Two minutes later, Hartman came up big as he has so many times throughout his MLS career, stopping Cacho on a one-on-one after the forward took a through ball between the center backs and fired a low shot at the sprawling goalkeeper.
Pumas controlled possession for a majority of the first half and high-pressured FC Dallas for turnovers, but FCD tempered any nerves after the opening 20 minutes.
Ricardo Villar provided the first serious threat for FC Dallas in the 16th minute when he ripped a bouncing ball from 18-yards off a headed pass from Ugo Ihemelu. His shot, however, flew over Odin Patiño’s goal.
Pumas failed to convert on multiple opportunities before the halftime whistle, with Hartman again making the save on a shot inside the box.
At the restart, FC Dallas began to push the opposition deep in their defensive third and just after the hour mark, Benítez created the magic that sent FC Dallas players into celebration as the first side to taste victory in Mexico.
With the shutout, FC Dallas became the first team to begin their CCL campaign with three consecutive shutouts after defeating Alianza FC of El Salvador 2-0 in the play-in stage.
Both FCD and Pumas return to group play next week. FC Dallas travel to take on fellow MLS side Toronto FC on Wednesday, while Pumas play at Tauro FC in Panama the following day.
DAL – Marvin Chavez 66
PUM – Cesar Sanchez (caution) 45
PUM – Aaron Sandoval (caution) 58
FCD – Jackson (caution) 61
FCD – Zach Loyd (caution) 85
FCD – Fabian Castillo (caution) 90+
FC Dallas -- Kevin Hartman, Zach Loyd, George John, Ugo Ihemelu, Jair Benitez, Marvin Chavez, Daniel Cruz (Eric Alexander 83), Ricardo Villar (Andrew Jacobson 77), Daniel Hernandez, Brek Shea, Jackson (Fabian Castillo 67).
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Seitz, Jack Stewart, Bobby Warshaw, Ruben Luna.
Pumas UNAM – Odin Patino, Carlos Gonzalez, Eduardo Gamez, Jose Antonio Garcia, Aaron Sandoval, Cesar Sanchez, Salvador Medina (Martin Bravo 55), Carlos Campos, Michelle Castro, Juan Carlos Cacho (Eduardo Barron 45), Raul Servin (Eduardo Herrera 68).
Substitutes Not Used: Alfredo Saldivar, Marco Antonio Palacios, Neftali Teja, Erik Vera.
Referee: Jose Molina
Referee's Assistants: Juan Rodas, Oscar Velasquez
4th Official: Hector Rodriguez