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FC Dallas loses 1st leg of USA-Brazil Challenge

Published 3/9/2007 10:57:50 AM by FC Dallas from Media Relations
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CURITIBA, Brazil - FC Dallas dropped the first-leg of the USA-Brazil Challenge by a score of 3-1 to Atletico Paranaense on Wednesday night at Kyocera Arena in Curitiba, Brazil. CAP scored twice in the first half and once in the second, with Ramon Nunez tallying the lone goal for FCD in the second half. The second-leg of the friendly competition between the two partner clubs will be played at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas on March 31.

"I thought for the most part it was a great experience for us," said FCD head coach Steve Morrow. "It's been a great trip and it was a good game to round off our trip. Having said that, I was slightly disappointed with our performance in the first half; just in the fact that we didn't perform as well as I know that we can. Like I said, it was a great experience and a great learning experience for our team to come in to a situation like this. We had a severe test in the first 30 minutes of the game and didn't really deal with it as well as we would have liked. But I think after we recovered from the initial 30 minutes there were a lot of positive things for the rest of the game."

"It's still early in our preseason - we're only halfway through our training program," added Morrow. "I think we've made a lot of new progress and at this stage, it's a great game for us and we take a lot out of it. I'd much rather play in big games like that and for the team to be challenged and tested than to play against lesser opposition. So from that point of view we take a lot out of it. We move forward and take the positives out of it, that we played a lot of good stuff and created a lot of good chances. I think the score line could have been different in the end."

"This gives us a lot of motivation. I said to the guys before the game that this is the first trophy of the season in many ways and a competition over two games, and we want to win that competition. I think this gives us a lot of motivation to go out in the second game and show more of what we can do and what we're capable of."

Atletico Paranaense took control of the game almost from the onset, keeping the ball on the Dallas defensive end for the first 25 minutes. Nine minutes in, CAP forward Denis Marques showed the first signs of having a good night, when he entered the Dallas area and ripped a shot that forced FCD keeper Dario Sala to leap high and to his left for the save.

CAP took seven corner kicks during the early minutes, and finally broke through with their first goal at the 11 minute mark. Forward Alex Mineiro took a shot that force Sala down for the save, however the shot was deflected by Dallas defender Chris Gbandi and fell right Denis Marques who was alone for the easy header and the 1-0 lead.

Dallas struggled to put consecutive passes together, as the CAP defense and midfield did well to keep the ball moving after recovering it. FCD entered the CAP area in the 18th minute, but a hard tackle on Gbandi near the endline disrupted the play. Gbandi would end up leaving the game a few minutes later with a severe left ankle sprain. He was taken to the hospital for ex-rays, which revealed he did not fracture a bone. He will be re-evaluated in Frisco on Friday when the team returns. No timeline has been established for his return.

CAP made the score 2-0 in the 21st minute. Denis Marques found himself past the Dallas defense on a one-on-one with Sala, who did well to save the point-blank shot. However, Marques and Dallas' Drew Moor battled for the rebound, and Moor was called for the foul inside the area. Alex Mineiro stepped up to take the penalty kick, hitting it hard past Sala's left.