CAP may want to re-think the arrangement after Andre Rocha and Ricardinho scored for Dallas in a 2-0 victory in the first-leg of their their two-game series Thursday in Curitiba, Brazil. The second leg is March 22 at Pizza Hut Park; last year, CAP won the home leg, 3-1, and also won in Dallas, 1-0.
It was Ricardinho and Andre Rocha's first appearances at the Kyocera Arena since being loaned to FC Dallas. Ricardinho arrived last year and André Rocha is among FCD's offseason acquisitions. So as not to offend their friends and family in attendance, not to mention their fans, both players muted their celebrations.
Many members of CAP's first team played against Dallas, and a few of the under-20 players FCD had faced on Tuesday also took part. CAP had another game to play the same night; a Copa de Brasil match against Corinthians Alagoano followed FCD's victory
André Rocha put away a chip from Pablo Ricchetti early in the match, and Ricardinho stole a back pass to evade keeper Julian Viafara and roll in the second goal eight minutes before halftime. Coach Steve Morrow sent out his team in a 3-4-1-2 formation lacking defender Duilio Davino and midfielder Juan Toja, who were nursing minor injuries.
André Rocha played in the hole behind forwards Kenny Cooper and Ricardinho, with Marcelo Saragosa and Pablo Ricchetti in central midfield, Bobby Rhine on the right and David Wagenfuhr on the left. Aaron Pitchkolan took the middle in Davino's absence between defenders Drew Moor on the right and Adrian Serioux on the left. Dario Sala went the full 90 in goal for the first time this preseason.
"The level of competition was obviously higher than it's been so far, so we were looking to raise our game a little tonight, and I was delighted with the outcome," said Morrow. "The quality of our passing, particularly in the first half, was very, very good. I thought the midfield guys in particular moved the ball very well, created a lot of opportunities. We could've been four nil up at halftime, so it was very pleasing."
Sala saved three long shots in the second half to keep CAP scoreless and FC Dallas killed off the game with long stretches of possession that drew praise from the fans, who had also jeered their team off the field at the end of the first half.
"It was very pleasing for me in the second half, especially to see the stadium filling up and the crowd applauding us at times for the way we moved the ball," added Morrow. "I think it was a great experience for the boys, and they showed a lot of maturity."
FC Dallas ends its Brazilian stint with a match against Avai Futbol Clube in Florianopolis Saturday.