FRISCO – The FC Dallas U-18 Academy has done what no other MLS Academy has been able to do before – win the Dallas Cup Gordon Jago Super Group title.
In thrilling, come-from-behind fashion yet again, the oldest Academy group gave up a late-game equalizer only to score the eventual game-winner just minutes later to seal a 2-1 win over Monterrey. It’s the same way the team took their Semifinal match two days prior.
“It just shows the character of this team and all the courage that we had, not to get down, but to tie it up in each of these games – it’s not easy to bounce back but we did both times and scored the game-winner,” Homegrown midfielder Paxton Pomykal said. “This team has something else. We all work for each other, we’re a family, we fight for each other and, ultimately, we’d die for each other.”
“They call each other brothers every day and that’s one of our cheers,” head coach Francisco Molina said. “Those three guys, they’re very down to earth. They’re hard workers. They put in the work just like anyone else on the field. They’re not selfish and I think we showed it.”
“These will always be my brothers,” Pomykal added. “No matter what, where I go, this will be my family.”
The Homegrowns shined bright in their return to the Academy ranks. Cannon played in all but eleven minutes of the tournament and helped anchor a back line that allowed just three goals in five matches. Of the 10 goals the U-18s scored in the tournament, Ferreira had a direct role in seven of those, with three goals and four assists – including on Pomykal’s goal to open the Final in the 23rd minute. It was Pomykal’s third goal of the week as well.
“I just go out there and do what I know how to do. I pass the ball to teammates that are in a better position, and if [they’re] not, I just take it on myself,” Ferreira said. “I think that me getting those four assists was very important for the team.”
At just 17 years old, Pomykal would still be eligible to play in next year’s Dallas Cup for FCD. At 16, Ferreira could play in the next two.
“It’s a little scary,” Molina said laughingly. “Hopefully he won’t be playing [here] and he’ll be with the first team, but that’s what we want from our players. Somebody else has to step up and take his role and what Paxton and Jesus did today.”
Rodriguez the Hero
While the professional trio left their mark, it was a brand new face to the Academy that stole the show and sealed the win.
Arturo Rodriguez, who joined FC Dallas just two months ago, came into the match in the 60th minute – his fifth appearance in the tournament off the bench. After Monterrey tied the match, it was Rodriguez who took a chance from distance in the 89th minute.
“Oh my God, that was amazing. Coach gave me the opportunity to go in and I did my job,” he said after the match. “I didn’t have a person to give the pass to, so I just shot, I saw the ball go in and then I freaked out.”
“He’s different, and we saw that two months ago when we first spotted him. We knew that he could do something like that,” Molina said of the newest, and likely smallest member of the team. “I thought he was going to chip the goalkeeper, but he even surprised me on that shot and he caught the keeper going backwards on his heels and that’s all she wrote. That’s all you need for the next level. That kid has something special in him.”