FC Dallas coach Nico Estevez expects Toyota Stadium’s harsh environment



Photo by Mike Brooks

One of the many goals for FC Dallas in 2023 was to be able to play some playoff games at Toyota Stadium. As the season progressed and injuries piled up, playing multiple home games in the playoffs became more difficult for North Texas teams. Especially when it took until decision day to qualify for the playoffs.

Heading into Saturday’s second game against the Seattle Sounders, FC Dallas coach Nico Estevez wants to maximize his club’s chances at home to a loud and raucous crowd.

“They’ve always been behind the teams, and we’re hoping for a very hostile environment on Saturday,” Estevez said. “It’s a really hostile game, just like any real meaningful football game. You know, it’s something you’ll always remember.

“This helps when you know players are tired, fatigued or frustrated with the play. It helps them go and, you know, That’s one of the things I always said I’m optimistic about and want to get back to Seattle to play and hopefully win at home, our fans.”

FC Dallas will be looking for its first home win since late August, when Nkosi Tafari’s late goal defeated rival Austin FC. In the remaining five home games of the regular season, FC Dallas drew each of them, including a 1-1 tie with the Sounders. Similar to Game 1 in Seattle on Monday, FC Dallas had several chances to put the Sounders away in that September matchup, but couldn’t capitalize.

“First of all, we have to play for 90 minutes with high intensity and mental strength. If you make a mistake in this kind of match, it hurts a lot,” Estevez said. “Also, when you have momentum, you have to take advantage of opportunities. You know, I think we learned those things.”

With Alan Velasco out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, the offense will rely more on players like Jesus Ferreira and Paul Arriola. Estevez remains optimistic that things can work out for the club to play at home again this year.

“Nobody knows and this probably won’t be the last game we play at home,” Estevez added.

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