There was little significance tied to FC Dallas’ 5-1 exhibition win over the University of Tulsa on Saturday.
But for many of the club’s trialists and fringe roster players, Saturday represented a golden opportunity to make an impression on the club’s coaching staff.
Though training camp has been in motion for nearly five weeks, less than a week remains for many of the roster hopefuls to make their case. Roster decisions are expected in advance of the team’s trip to the Disney Pro Soccer Classic on Friday.
“You have to be roster compliant by the first of March, so I think decisions will have to be made by Friday,” assistant coach John Ellinger said following Saturday’s match. “There won’t really be trialists when we go down to Florida. I think we’ll pretty much have our squad with maybe room for one or two players.”
Among those fighting for a roster spot are forwards Dogba and Scott Sealy, both of whom scored against the Tulsa defense.
Sealy, who netted two second half goals on Saturday, knows the pressure is on, but refuses to let it affect his game.
“You can’t worry about it,” Sealy said. “It’s over your head. Obviously you want to do well and get a contract, but you can’t play like that – tentative and not wanting to make mistakes.”
Players will have one final opportunity to shine on Wednesday, though possibly against their most challenging opponent yet.
The team will take on the US U-23s, who will travel to Frisco for a 10-day training camp beginning Sunday. The young squad features MLS talents such as Juan Agudelo and Zarek Valentin in addition to a number of overseas players.
FC Dallas must also deal with a talented American midfielder by the name of Brek Shea.
“They're a good team - a lot of young, talented players from MLS and overseas,” Sealy said. “They’re going to be strong and fast, and have a lot of guys that are good with the ball technically. It’s going to be a good game.”
Ellinger is excited to see his squad match-up against the U-23s, and particularly against Shea. But all eyes will be on those who fighting to remain with the squad as the preseason nears its’ end.
After all, a big performance against elite talent might do wonders for those on the bubble.
“If a guy can step up and play well against a team like the U-23s, that will go a long way in helping that individual,” Ellinger said. “It will be fresh in Schellas’ mind when making the decision.”
Sealy, however, will do anything but dwell on the possibility of leaving the club on Friday. After playing seven years in MLS, every day, game or practice, is equally critical.
“I just play and try to do my thing,” Sealy said. “At the end of the day, if it’s good enough, I’ll be here. If not, I’ll try somewhere else.”
Blas Perez and Scott Sealy both score braces against Tulsa
February 18, 2012
FC Dallas defeated the University of Tulsa men’s soccer team 5-1 today on the adidas Field at FC Dallas Stadium. Dallas got two goals each out of forwards Blas Perez and Scott Sealy in the victory.
The game got off to a slow start for FC Dallas. The team surrendered a 1-0 lead in just the fifth minute when Tulsa’s Bryce Follensbee got a jump on the FC Dallas defense. The speedy forward arrived first to a through ball played into the top right corner of the area and was taken to the ground by FC Dallas center back Ugo Ihemelu. Without hesitation, the referee awarded a penalty kick, which was converted by teammate Omar Mata.
FC Dallas settled down and found an equalizer in the 25th minute when Perez benefited from good combination play between Zach Loyd and Andrew Jacobson. After controlling the ball on the right flank, Loyd played Jacobson a through ball near the top of the area. Jacobson turned with the ball and knocked a lateral centering pass in on the floor to Perez, who controlled the ball well under pressure and finished low to the right side of Tulsa goalkeeper Mark Pace.
Brek Shea started the sequence that gave Dallas a 2-1 lead just before halftime. The midfielder controlled the ball at the top of the box with his back to goal before being knocked to the ground by a Tulsa defender. The foul earned Dallas a penalty kick, which was converted by Perez with a sharp pass into the lower right corner of the goal.
Dallas brought on 10 new players to begin the second half and got a goal from Sealy just 12 minutes later. The play began when right back Scott Gordon intercepted a pass near midfield and pushed the ball up the middle of the field to Bryan Leyva. Leyva turned and slotted a pass through Tulsa’s defense to Sealy, who spun and fired a low shot past the right arm of goalkeeper Mike Murray to make it 3-1.
University of Maryland product Alex Lee had a strong half. He set up both of FC Dallas’ final goals to help the team to a 5-1 victory. The first came in the 64th minute when Lee got the ball on the right flank and slid a pass inside to Dogba. The Ivory Coast forward finished cleanly, hitting a sliding shot to the back post with his first touch.
Lee beat a trio of Tulsa defenders on the dribble to setup the final goal. His pass inside to Sealy put the forward in position to give Dallas a 5-1 lead, but a Tulsa defender drug the Trinidadian native to the ground, forcing the referee to once again point to the spot. Sealy converted the penalty with a hard blast down the middle of the goal.
FC Dallas will play its final preseason tune-up in Frisco on Wednesday morning before departing to Orlando, Fla. to take part in the Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic. FC Dallas will face the U.S. U-23 National Team in that match, which will be played on the adidas Field at FC Dallas Stadium at 10 a.m.
TUL – Omar Mata (PK) 5
DAL – Blas Perez (Andrew Jacobson, Zach Loyd) 25
DAL – Perez (PK) 44
DAL – Scott Sealy (Bryan Leyva, Scott Gordon) 57
DAL – Dogba (Alex Lee) 64
DAL – Sealy (PK) 79
FC Dallas – Kevin Hartman, Jair Benitez, Ugo Ihemelu, Hernan Pertuz, Zach Loyd, Brek Shea, Bobby Warshaw, Andrew Jacobson, Andrew Wiedeman, Blas Perez, Fabian Castillo.
FC Dallas (2nd half) – Chris Seitz, Moises Hernandez, Matt Hedges (Jack Stewart 73) Christian Ibeagha, Scott Gordon, Jonathan Top, Bryan Leyva, Bobby Warshaw, Alex Lee, Scott Sealy, Dogba.
Tulsa – Mark Pace (Mike Murray 45), Jake Dobkins (Ian Mussman 77), Quinn Starker, Wayne Farmer (SeoHyun Kim 64), Leo Smith (Jon Wright 39, Matt Boullt 45), Kyle Cummings (Tom Gaus 39, Kyle Cummings 64), Omar Mata, Tony Rocha, Bryce Follensbee (Jon Wright 45), Abe Matamoros (Dillon Alexander 64), Steve Roberson (Tom Gaus 84).
VIDEO - Highlights.