FC Dallas' Maynor Figueroa (right) celebrates with a teammate after scoring the game-winning against visiting Real Esteli in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League on August 4, 2016, in Frisco, Texas. (Photo: Mexsport)
FRISCO, Texas – Honduras international Maynor Figueroa scored in the 84th minute to lift FC Dallas to a 2-1 win over Real Esteli in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League Group H opener on Thursday night.
Michael Barrios had given Dallas a first-half lead, before Juan Berdun equalized for the Nicaraguan side at Toyota Stadium.
Real Esteli (0-0-1, 0) fell to 0-5-12 lifetime in the SCCL and is the only team to play at least 10 games in the competition without a win.
Figueroa snapped a 1-1 tie with his first-ever SCCL goal. An Esteli headed clearance fell in the left side of the penalty area to Maximiliano Urruti, who fed Figueroa. The 33-year-old defender powered a 16-yard shot into the upper right corner past goalkeeper Justo Lorente.
After controlling much of the first half, Dallas finally was rewarded in the 44th minute. Michael Barrios volleyed an attempt on net that was saved by Lorente. A poor clearance was intercepted by Ryan Hollingshead on the left flank. He beat his marker before crossing to a sliding Barrios, who knocked it home at the far post for a 1-0 advantage.
Only 29 seconds after the kickoff, Urruti set the tone for the host as he took advantage of a turnover and raced in on Lorente on the right side, but his shot was saved.
In one of Real Esteli's rare opportunities, Gregorio Torres blasted a shot from distance off the crossbar on the half hour.
Three minutes into the second half, Real equalized. Midfielder Franklin Lopez launched a long ball from the back that Juan Berdun ran onto the right side. After Dallas defender Walker Zimmerman slipped and fell, Berdun found himself alone with goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez, whom he beat from four yards for a 1-1 deadlock.
Dallas kept Lorente busy as the custodian also denied an onrushing Barrios (20’), Hollingshead's 20-yard effort (27’) and Urruti's long-distance attempts (53’ & 64’).
Group H returns to action on August 18, when Real Esteli visits Guatemala’s Suchitepequez.