FRISCO, Texas — Following their 6-5 victory on penalty kicks on Saturday in the fourth Rio Grande Plate series with Mexico's Tigres UANL, FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman understandably offered words of praise for his team. In particular, the coach focused on young Home Grown players Victor Ulloa, Jonathan Top, Bryan Leyva, Moises Hernandez and Ruben Luna.
“They did extremely well for themselves and for FC Dallas,” Hyndman told reporters after the game.
The 19-year-old Luna did especially well for himself late in the first half when he scored the equalizer on a cheeky chip from outside the box at a severe angle.
“A brilliant goal,” said Hyndman of Luna’s finish. “Bryan Leyva gave him a great pass with good pace on the ball. [Luna is] a great finisher, but that’s the first time I’ve really seen him chip a goalkeeper from that far out.”
Leyva — an FCD Academy product with Luna — sent a ball along the left flank that put Luna through the defense and toward the goal.
“It felt like old times in the academy,” said Luna. “Leyva gave me the chance on goal, so we understand each other well. Luckily, it happened here and we got the goal.”
Jacobson and John learning the ropes
Andrew Jacobson and George John suited up in the center of defense for FCD against Tigres as Hyndman sought to better acclimate the two to each other. It’s a necessity, since defensive leader Ugo Ihemelu is suspended for yellow-card accumulation in the Saturday's game against the New England Revolution.
While Jacobson got his first-ever start at center back against Toronto less than two weeks ago, he admitted to gaining some level of comfort at the position after three-and-a-half games.
“I’m not uncomfortable back there. I feel fine going into a game,” he said. “I know that as long as I battle and play my game, we’ll be fine.
“I’ve been getting a lot [of help] from [Kevin] Hartman and Ugo [Ihemelu] in the last few games — and Daniel [Hernandez]," added Jacobson. "They help me a lot. Everyone around just kind of helps me get through it and then [I] read off my instincts.”
New acquisition Jeremy Hall scored the game-winning penalty kick for FC Dallas against Tigres in only his second game at Pizza Hut Park. Having been on the road with the team for nine days, Hall has quickly gotten to know his teammates.
“It’s been great,” he said. “I think I’ve been on the team for a couple weeks and I think I’ve been [in Dallas] for about four days.”
Hall didn’t come to FCD cold, having traveled to Europe last winter with the Generation Adidas squad that included Hyndman as coach, and Andrew Wiedeman and Brek Shea as teammates. That gave him a foothold on the field.
Off the field it’s a bit different, as the ex-Portland Timber is working on finding himself a home in Dallas.
“I’m looking for apartments right now, waiting for my stuff to be shipped out from Portland, so I’m a hotel boy right now,” he said. "But hopefully soon I can get all settled in.”
Robert Casner covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached on Twitter: @robertmcasner