Super Ratón’s Super Week for FC Dallas and Panama
Blas Pérez lived up to his super hero nickname with a tremendous week for both FC Dallas and Panama. With Panama competing in Copa Centroamericana, Pérez played in two group games for La Marea Roja.
Blas opened the scoring in Sunday’s 2-2 draw with World Cup surprise package, and eventual Copa winners, Costa Rica. The Dallas striker volleyed Gabriel Gómez’ header in front of his adopted home-town crowd at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Pérez then led the Canalmen into Houston Dynamo’s BBVA Compass Stadium on Wednesday.
After winning twice already at the Dynamo’s home ground, with FC Dallas, Pérez again broke the deadlock, redirecting Gaby Torres’ low drive en route to a 2-0 win over Nicaragua. This goal moved Blas just one behind Luis Tejada’s national record of 37 goals.
Unfortunately for Panama, not so much for FC Dallas, the 2-0 win saw them fall short of making the final on goal difference. Shunning the chance to equal the goal-scoring record in the third place game, Pérez was consented to leave the Panama squad to rejoin the Hoops for a vital game against play-off rivals Vancouver. With FC Dallas losing to Chicago and RSL, the Whitecaps had reduced the gap to 5 points.
If Óscar Pareja thought he missed Super Ratón in those two games, he would be further reminded of just how much during the 2-1 victory at Toyota Stadium. After playing 180 minutes already that week, Blas led the line for Dallas, scoring a brace and winning both man of the match and MLS player of the week.
Vancouver keeper David Ousted famously declared "I believe that I can play in this league and play with the best of them and stop any attacker in this league.” shortly after the Dane joined from Randers FC. Blas’ team-mate Jair Benítez disproved that from a full 50 yards last season. Not to be outdone, the former Tigres striker left Ousted, once again, flailing in front of the Budweiser Beer Garden with his cross-cum-shot close to the corner flag. The half-volleyed effort took a rather audacious curl off the outside of the boot, leaving Ousted in a familiar pose dubbed ‘Vancouvering’.
If that 20th minute goal of the year candidate wasn’t enough, Mighty Mouse saved the day and won all three points in the 78th minute after Erik Hurtado had equalized for the visitors. Once again, Pérez shows a true striker’s instinct, smashing home Tesho Akindele's knock-down, following a Michel free-kick.
Pareja was quick to praise Pérez after the game. "With Blas it’s simple, I looked at him on Thursday and asked him 'do you think you have gas in the tank' and the answer is 'of course' and that was it. We didn’t talk about it any longer. ”
"Blas sets the tone for this group in the locker room and on the field also. In the field you saw it. He’s a player who gave all he has and then the game rewards him with two goals today. We needed him today. He played two games during the week and came in the first day after that and said 'I want to be on the field'. That represents what this group is about and I’m glad for him. He sets the path and the boys follow him."
Rookie strike partner Tesho Akindele also praised Blas following the win over Akindele’s fellow Canadians. "He’s older than most of the people on the team, but he’s still working hard every game. He played three games this week, but you wouldn’t know it. He’s running all over the place giving us encouragement and keeping us going.”
Pérez has one final chance to match, or break, the Panamanian goal-scoring record in 2014. Mexico will host the Canaleros, next month, at Ronaldinho’s new home of Estadio Corregidora. With FC Dallas looking likely for their first play-off run since 2011, Super Ratón’s Super Week could soon become Super Ratón’s Super Year.