The halftime addition of offseason signing Zdenek Ondrasek brought an edge to the Western Conference side that had been shut out in three of their previous four games. He scored in the 59th minute to get the comeback rolling and finished with three shots on target.
“I think it’s a product of Cobra’s mentality,” said Dallas coach Luchi Gonzalez. “It hasn’t been easy for him from the preseason, but he’s there. He’s mindful, he’s present, he’s socially connected with the group, and he doesn’t give up.”
Sunday, August 25 at 8:00pm
“I would say in the last few weeks he’s earned more opportunities,” Gonzalez said. “Why couldn’t he help us from the beginning? That’s the opportunity that could be there.”
After being signed from Polish side Wisla Krakow via Targeted Allocation Money, the Czech striker has only appeared in 11 matches. The 30-year-old, nicknamed The Cobra for the giant tattoo of the animal on his back, has taken time to adapt to MLS.
Ondrasek knows only too well about heated rivalries from his time in Poland. With Wisla Krakow, Ondrasek regularly played in the ‘Holy War’ against KS Cracovia. While those in the Texas Derby are separated by far more than the kilometer between Wisla and KS Cracovia’s stadiums, the expectations remain the same.
“The only thing to know before a derby is that there’s nothing more important for the people of the city than to win this game,” said Ondrasek. “There’s nothing better than to play a derby. I hope people will come, because every derby I played in was always full. What more could you want than to play in front of a full stadium and enjoy such a big game?”
Ondrasek’s first words after stepping off a flight from Europe were that he was here to bring fight to FC Dallas. He’s done exactly that, rushing to defend teammates in recent matches, reminding Gonzalez of what ex-captain Daniel Hernandez brought to the club at the turn of the decade.
“I understand the league wants to maintain the integrity of the game and that’s why there’s rules, but Cobra is going to show that personality and fire for his teammates,” said Gonzalez. “It helps us play with a chip on the shoulder and play with that edge mentally to push games.”
Regardless of whether or not the Cobra features on Sunday, he offered some advice for his teammates on the nature of rivalry games.
“It’s only important to be ready to get some, and to give some,” he said.