FRISCO, Texas -- A come-from-behind win seems to be common these days in the Metroplex.
FC Dallas fell behind early to New England on Saturday night, by means of a Lee Nguyen penalty kick. But they gathered themselves enough in a six-minute span in the second half to win their home opener 2-1.
“We don’t want to make it a habit, for sure. It’s not something we’re trying to do,” said defender Walker Zimmerman, of trailing games early. “It does show the character and resiliency of our team to find ourselves in these bad spots and get out of them.”
Just three days prior, FC Dallas trailed Pachuca in the CONCACAF Champions League semi-final, dropping a goal in only the third minute, before ultimately coming out ahead 2-1. In similar fashion, FCD came out flat against the Revs, not even registering a single shot on target in the first half.
“We do have to eliminate those early mistakes – goals in the first ten minutes. We can’t afford to do that,” Zimmerman said. “Then it’s an uphill battle the whole game.”
Head coach Oscar Pareja could have elected to use the same strategy he used last week in Kansas City. Knowing his squad had three games in seven days, he ran mostly reserves onto the pitch a week ago, with the usual suspects playing in a crucial CCL semi-final.
But Pareja left the same lineup – for the most part – on the field that he used in Wednesday night’s CCL match.
“They’re ready and they’re fit. They did a tremendous preparation,” Pareja said, shrugging off the idea of playing fatigued. “I saw them in Argentina playing seven games in a week. I saw them suffering every single morning tired and sore and needing to play against team’s first teams. And I saw them reacting well.
“They know they’re capable to do it. The professionalism of this group is remarkable. I’m confident.”
Pareja also emphasized the importance of the home opener, where they raised both a 2016 USOC and 2016 Supporter’s Shield banner for fans. By coming back and winning in “Fortress Frisco,” FC Dallas kept a handful of Dallas streaks going. The team hasn’t lost a home opener since 2009, and still hasn’t lost to New England since September 10, 2011. They also extended a lengthy home unbeaten streak, with their last loss at Toyota Stadium coming in August of 2015.
“It was one of those familiar nights with our team where we have to come back from moments that are difficult,” Pareja said. “And one more time, I won’t get tired to say that the character of this team surprises me more and more.”