Ricardo Pepi Hattrick Leads FC Dallas to 4-0 Victory over L.A Galaxy



Image: FC Dallas Twitter


07/24/21


FC Dallas earned their third victory of the 2021 MLS season thanks to a hattrick by eighteen year old homegrown player Ricardo Pepi. FC Dallas tweeted that Pepi was the youngest player in league history to score a hattrick.

Pepi is the ninth player in franchise history to score a hattrick, joining the ranks of Dallas legends such as Bobby Rhine, Michael Barrios, and Jason Kreis. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Major_League_Soccer_hat-tricks)


With the game tonight, Pepi also furthered his lead as Dallas' top goal scorer with eight goals. (https://www.fcdallas.com/players/ricardo-pepi/stats/)


Winger Jader Obrian is second to Pepi with three goals so far in the season. (https://www.fcdallas.com/stats/)


The Goals-

After a few games of Dallas fans being treated to the Jesus Ferreira/Ricardo Pepi attacking combo, another Dallas player decided to join in on the action. Andres Ricaurte rejoined the starting lineup. It was his first start since a 1-1 draw against Minnesota United in mid June.

Image: FC Dallas Twitter


Instead playing in the usual higher up, ten role that Luchi has employed him in before, Ricaurte started further back in the midfield, alongside Facundo Quignon. This change allowed Ferreira to continue in the false-9 role and Ricaurte to play in his more natural spot as a deep playmaking midfielder.


Ricaurte immediately made his presence known on the field. His assist on Pepi's first goal was impressive. His calmness when being chased by a defender, ability to hold onto the ball and play it into the space for Pepi to score is something that this Dallas attack has needed.


Pepi has continued to look more and more like the striker Dallas has desperately needed for the last few years. His decision making in the box and calmness when facing the goalkeeper one-on-one has made him one of Dallas' most valuable players this season.

The second goal of the match hightlighted Pepi's calmness in the box even more. This time it was Ferreira who earned the assist. He easily played the corner into the box where an unmarked Pepi was able to head the ball down to his feet. He then quickly slotted it past L.A's goalkeeper Jonathan Bond.

Pepi's last goal of the night came after Dallas winger Szabolcs Schon attempted to dribble through two defenders and into the box. After losing his balance at the edge of the box, he knocked the ball into the tiny bit of open space. Pepi immediately jumped on the chance and completed the hattrick.

Dallas finished their 4-0 route in the waning minutes of the match. Justin Che played a long ball into the path of Obrian. With a defender just near him, Obrian sprinted down the field. He outpaced his defender, who then quickly gave up the pursuit and slotted it just past the feet of Bond who had guessed wrong and immediately fell to the ground to stop the goal.

Image: FC Dallas Twitter


Ricardo Pepi-


There isn't much to say about Pepi that hasn't already been stated. He showed flashes of what he could do in 2020. Many who followed Dallas knew that he was special, it was just a question of when or even if he would show it in MLS. Dallas has lost many of their promising young players to bigger clubs overseas. Weston Mckinney and Bryan Reynolds are two prime examples of this.


Pepi may not stay long with Dallas. Until he leaves for a chance in Europe, however, he's given fans a taste of what should be expected of him. Ironically after years of ignoring the calls to bring in a multi-million dollar striker, Dallas has had one of their own step up. Pepi has outperformed his more famous teammate Franco Jara so far and it doesn't look like Jara will catch up to him anytime soon.

Image: FC Dallas Twitter


Szabolcs Schon-


Schon made his first start for Dallas tonight. After an interesting adjustment period that saw him play just days after his arrival in Frisco and being used out of position, Schon seemed to have finally settled in a bit. Employed as a left winger tonight , he earned an assist on Pepi's last goal and ended the match with 65% pass percentage.


The wings are one of the most open positions on the team right now, giving Schon a chance to make the spot his if he continues to improve with the club. Tonight's game a good start for him and hopefully he'll build off that performance.


Next Game-


FC Dallas will travel to Children's Mercy Park to face Sporting Kansas City on July 31st. The game is set to be played at 7:30PM. After that they will travel to Lumen Field in Seattle to play against the Seattle Sounders on August 4th at 9:00PM. They will return to Toyota Stadium on August 7th to play against new Texas rivals Austin FC at 7:30PM


By Melanie G. Isbell