FRISCO, Texas — Bryan Leyva could feel the butterflies in his stomach as FC Dallas began warm-ups last Saturday night.
For most players, it was just another game, but for the 20-year-old, this was an opportunity of a lifetime. And in the 22nd minute, he got a chance to prove he belonged. Leyva received a cross from midfielder Carlos Rodríguez and blasted a shot that Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins managed to punch out.
But by aiming at the far post, Leyva created the opportunity for Blas Pérez to score on the rebound and give FC Dallas a 1-0 lead.
WATCH: Leyva sets up FCD goal
“Obviously, the goal was a shot for me,” Leyva told MLSsoccer.com this week. “That’s what I get asked to do, to create chances on goal. That was one that led to the goal. I’m happy for that, and I want to carry on like that.”
Leyva could get another chance on Sunday, when FC Dallas hit the road to face Sporting Kansas City (7 pm ET, Galavisión). With Fabián Castillo still out after suffering a knee injury in the season opener and a litany of other absences, FCD’s new kid on the block is suddenly a very vital part of the team’s look this weekend.
“I think there is a really good chance he starts,” FCD Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com. “With Castillo, Brek Shea and Carlos Rodríguez still out, he’s very much in view to have the opportunity to start another game."
Andrew Wiedeman was expected to be ahead of Leyva in the pecking order last week against Portland, but Hyndman decided to take a chance on youngster based on his work ethic and performance with the reserve team.
“He has been working awfully hard,” Hyndman said. “He did extremely well in the previous reserve game. I selected him Man of the Match. He scored a goal and was pretty active. This was a great way to recognize him. He played really well against Portland.”
After training stints with Lille OSC in France and Racing Santander in Spain, Leyva received a call from FC Dallas and joined the Youth Development System in 2008. His dominant performances and 13 goals led to him becoming the first Homegrown player in FC Dallas history to earn a professional contract.
“It meant a lot,” Leyva said. “It meant a lot not only to me but my teammates, the academy and for the whole system. Since I was signed, there could be more players signed. It motivated them. We all work hard because we want to be here on the first team.
“Hopefully, I can [get more starts],” he added. “It has to do with my performance in practice not just in the game. It’s an everyday thing, and every day I want to win that spot.”