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Paxton Pomykal earns vote of confidence after 2018 FC Dallas debut

Mar 18, 2018; Frisco, TX, USA; FC Dallas midfielder Paxton Pomykal (19) drives against the Seattle Sounders at Toyota Park. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Paxton Pomykal made his 2018 Major League Soccer debut during the weekend, coming off the bench in the 68th minute of FC Dallas’ 3-0 win over the Seattle Sounders — and it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere.

Pomykal recently received a call-up to the United States under-20 national team for its trip to Spain, which will involve matches against France and Atletico Madrid’s under-21 squad. Pomykal decided to forgo international duty and remain in Frisco, Texas, to train with Dallas. He could feature in the club’s Saturday match against Portland.

“I’m excited for Paxton,” FC Dallas technical director Fernando Clavijo said. “Going to the U.S. under-20 call-up was a very important opportunity for him. This means that Óscar [Pareja] plans to have him in the 18 for our game against Portland. Óscar feels more and more comfortable with him. It shows he has confidence in him to keep him here.”

Pomykal was a highly-touted prospect from FC Dallas’ academy. He was a part of the academy teams that won the U-16 and U-18 national championships. FC Dallas signed the midfielder to an MLS contract in 2016, when he was 16 years old. Pomykal received two starts early on during the 2017 season, but he did not play in any other matches.

That’s why having a positive outing and a good amount of time on the pitch against Seattle was so important.

“It made me smile,” FCD coach Óscar Pareja said. “It made me feel like the young guys are growing and that they need to be on the field more. Jacori [Hayes] as well has been playing very well. Paxton came up on the field with such a personality. Always very delighted to see how he has been maturing and he’s a product of our academy so hopefully he can have more minutes in the future and can keep growing as a player.”

Pareja deployed Pomykal out on the wing for both of his starts, but said during the preseason that Pomykal will be playing behind Mauro Diaz centrally in the midfield. It’s Pomykal’s preferred position, though he can play as a winger or in a box-to-box role due to his work rate.

“I felt great,” Pomykal said. “Obviously it’s good to be on the field in front of the fans, so obviously it’s going to feel good.”

“For me, I prefer to play in the middle because I think I am a two-way player on the field,” Pomykal said. “Whether I’m on the wing or in the middle I still perform my job the way my coaches wanted [me] to.”

Pomykal has mixed emotions after learning he was called up for the U.S. U-20 national team. Before meeting with Pareja about the trip, Pomykal said: “It should be good. … I’ll see all of my friends there, and we’re going to Spain. I need to talk to Óscar because we have some guys injured, so it’s still questionable if I’m going or not.”

It’s been decided — Pomykal isn’t going anywhere.

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