FRISCO, Texas – Heading into Saturday’s match against Colorado, FC Dallas left back Jair Benitez, playing in his 87th career MLS match, was by far the longest-tenured player on his squad without an MLS goal. Having missed a penalty kick earlier this year, many wondered if the 33-year-old Colombian would ever score for Dallas.
GOAL: Benitez's free kick marks first goal
He put those worries to bed with a 35-yard left-footed laser free kick past Rapids 'keeper Matt Pickens on Saturday night that drew comparisons to one of the all-time dead ball specialists.
“What a great free kick by Jair, one that [David] Beckham would be proud of,” FCD manager Schellas Hyndman said after the game. “A great kick that puts us ahead right before halftime, a great time to score.”
FCD goalkeeper Kevin Hartman has seen a few free kicks in his day, but had plenty of praise for the Colombian’s strike.
“I think that it was probably one of the better strikes that I’ve seen in a while. I don’t think Beckham could hit that left-footed, to be honest,” Hartman told MLSsoccer.com. “I think Beckham would definitely be proud of it since it was the left foot. I’m sure on the [left] side it was Beckham-esque.”
Ferreira opens his account
It was a special evening for all the Cafeteros of FC Dallas on Saturday night, but no moment was bigger than 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira scoring his first goal since April 17, 2011.
In the 49th minute, “El Torito” received a feed from fellow Colombian Fabian Castillo at the top of the box and side-footed a flick past Pickens to grab the game-winning goal.
Hyndman reserved special praise for his talisman after the game.
“He’s one of the best players in the league to handle pressure and I think you see what happens when he does get by people, that you’re not going to go very far,” the coach said of his oft-fouled attacker. “He is truly a warrior in all senses of the word. It was great to see him get a goal because he works awfully hard out there for us.”
Pareja pleased with academy success
Prior to joining the Rapids, Colorado head coach Oscar Pareja was the original coach of the FC Dallas Development Academy program, leaving his mark on the club's youth system.
While Pareja was not on the sidelines when FCD won the Under-18 US Soccer Development Academy national championship in July, he couldn’t help but smile when asked about their success.
“I think that was the end of a process of four years with that class, the ‘93s and ‘94s,” Pareja said. “It made me feel very proud. They did a great job and I hope they can continue with that success because they deserve it.”