DALLAS — FC Dallas knocked off OKC Energy FC in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, winning 4-0 at Westcott Field on Wednesday night.
FC Dallas dominated the match, punishing its USL Championship opponents and not having much trouble as the team rolled in the goals with an offensive outburst. Dallas controlled 66 percent of possession and Michael Barrios led the way on the stat sheet with a goal and an assist.
“These games aren’t easy,” head coach Luchi Gonzalez said. “These teams are very motivated. For us to come here and for SMU to open their door to us and allow use the field, we know what this cup means to the family and FC Dallas, with the legacy of Lamar, Dan and Hunt. This is really important to our family. I felt the boys took initiative that we wanted this.”
The field at Southern Methodist University was not in the best condition, with many mud spots on the pitch. However, midfielder Jacori Hayes says the team did not allow that to be an excuse as they stepped onto it to play.
“It wasn’t the best of fields but I’ve played definitely played on a lot worse growing up,” Hayes said. “We had an emphasis in the warm-ups to get used to it. By the time we finished the first set up of possession and warm-ups on the field, you’re used to the bumps. I was proud of the guys that we stuck to our principles. The field didn’t help in some points when trying to play out.”
Defender Matt Hedges opened up the scoring in the 11th minute off of a corner kick delivery from Barrios. Hedges went up and connected with the cross, nailing it into the net to give FCD a 1-0 lead.
In the 43rd minute, forward Ricardo Pepi notched his first assist for the first team, finding Barrios on the wing. Barrios was able to beat Energy defender Christian Ibehaga one-on-one and slot it past Cody Laurendi to give Dallas a 2-0 lead late into the first half.
Pepi’s debut for the FC Dallas was a long-time coming. With seven goals in six matches for USL League One side North Texas SC, Pepi did not get on the scoresheet Wednesday, but the showing provided some confidence for the young 16-year-old forward.
“I think it was overall pretty positive,” Pepi said about his performance. “It was pretty good.”
Dallas added another score in the second half with a set piece off the training ground. After a short corner, Jesus Ferriera found Dominque Badji at the top of the box. Badji took the shot and smashed it into the net for 3-0 in the 52nd minute.
Badji had a positive performance at the winger as he continues to adapt from being a forward. While not his first position, Badji is learning to watch the game from a new perspective.
“When I was a forward, I could post-up, I could run behind,” Badji said. “Whereas on the wing, you see the game from a different angle. It takes time getting used to that, as opposed being back to goal and seeing the whole field. Each and every game, I’m getting more confidence on the wing.”
Reto Ziegler added a penalty in the 89th minute after Bryan Reynolds was taken down in the box, beat his defender and forcing the rash challenge.
Dallas will have to wait for its next opponent as it advances to the Round of 16 of the U.S. Open Cup, a trophy the team won in 2016.
“I think the performance tonight speaks for itself,” Gonzalez said. “They want the cup. It means a lot to us. They’re going to prepare for the next opportunity.”