FRISCO, Texas – After burying countless amounts of balls in the back of the net in his native Panama, striker Blas Pérez was acquired by FC Dallas this year for one reason – to do the same in MLS.
The man simply known as "Super Raton" – a moniker he earned for his dynamite play on the field – has energized his new club in the first two games of the regular season, and he scored his first goal of his MLS career against Portland this past Saturday.
“It was a great happiness for me to score,” Pérez, who scored in the 22nd minute of the 1-1 draw, told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “My first goal here with FC Dallas I hope is the first of many more to come, but I have to keep working hard.”
Pérez has already proven to be a difference-maker so far this season. In the opener against New York on March 11, he had what seemed like two sure goals miraculously saved by goalkeeper Ryan Meara.
WATCH: Pérez gets his first goal
The 6-foot-1 forward leads the team with three shots on goal in two games, and already has two assists.
“I feel good [about how I’ve played so far],” he said. “I know there are going to be difficult moments in every game, but you have to be mentally and physically prepared. You have to be mature in the sense that when difficult times come, you have to overcome them. From a one to a five, I would grade myself at a 4.2 or 4.3. I’m working hard every day and hoping to get to a 5.”
While Pérez has had to adjust to his new home, FC Dallas fans have made the transition much easier.
“I’ve tried to play really hard, but if there was any surprise, it would just be the goodness of the people here and the loyalty they have to our team,” Pérez said. “I’m surprised with how good they are to us and how good of a crowd they are. The fan interaction has been really special. We want to keep them happy when we play at home and on the road.”
With FC Dallas not at full strength when they head to Kansas City to take on Sporting KC on Sunday, Pérez knows his teammates will lean on him to make up for the absences of players such as Brek Shea, Carlos Rodríguez and, possibly, Fabián Castillo and David Ferreira.
“It’s going to be a difficult game,” Pérez said. “We’re going to be the visiting team. We have to play better than we did against Portland. This is the second time I play there. The first time was with the [Panama national team]. It’s a beautiful place to play, but FC Dallas is looking to bring more points back home.”