FC Dallas took care of business in the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday. Though they fell to Árabe Unido 2-1 in Panama, they won the series 5-2 on aggregate. They now advance to the semifinals of the tournament where they will face Liga MX side Pachuca.
FC Dallas came into the match with a 4-0 advantage after a devastating performance against Árabe Unido last Thursday. Kellyn Acosta starred that night, netting two goals in a comprehensive victory. Óscar Pareja featured a strong but changed lineup for the second leg. Javier Morales, Tesho Akindele, and Aaron Guillen all featured in the starting XI.
FC Dallas Set for CCL Semifinal Clash with Pachuca
Árabe Unido showed some fight in the first twenty minutes. Two long range efforts by Renán Addles would have given the Blue Express the lead if it were not for FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz. Any chances of Árabe getting back into the tie were eclipsed in the 23rd minute. A lively Michael Barrios broke down the right and launched a dangerous cross into the box. Maxi Urruti couldn’t connect, but Árabe defender Leslie Heraldez did. He clattered into the ball and sent it bouncing into his own net. FC Dallas went ahead 1-0, with a five goal lead on aggregate plus an away goal.
The majority of the second half was scoreless and uneventful. Until the 90th minute, the half was highlighted by a first FC Dallas first-team appearance for 17-year-old homegrown Paxton Pomykal. As the full time whistle approached, Árabe earned a consolation goal. Roberto Chen directed a fine header into goal from a free kick delivered from the right side. The late fireworks continued when the Panamanian side netted a second goal in injury time. This time it was Heraldez who found the back of the net with a glancing header from a corner kick. It was too little, too late for Árabe though. They won 2-1 on the night, but FC Dallas prevailed on aggregate.
FC Dallas will meet Pachuca of Liga MX in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals. Pachuca advanced after routing Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa 4-0 in Mexico on Tuesday. The semifinal will feature a trip home for Pachuca defender and US international Omar Gonzalez, a Dallas native. This matchup will also be one of two Liga MX / MLS semifinals in the Champions League. FC Dallas featured a strong lineup in this contest in order to secure qualification. They will likely see some travel weary legs on Saturday for their MLS opener, an away match against the LA Galaxy. FC Dallas will be back on the international stage soon to host Pachuca. The CONCACAF Champions League semifinals begin on March 14th.