There’s a certain feeling you get when you play against your former team. For Eric Avila, Saturday’s contest against FC Dallas brings on a few different feelings.
“It’s weird but it’s kind of exciting,” he said on Thursday. “I have butterflies. I’ll see some old friends. I’m excited to play.”
“Avi”, as he’s known around the team, spent four seasons in Dallas. He made 63 appearances for the Toros before being traded to Toronto FC, where he played for almost two years. After a few seasons in his native California with Chivas USA, Avi found himself crossing the continent yet again, bound for a new club in Orlando.
Avila has been a reliable contributor for the Lions in their first season, often featuring on the right wing since Kevin Molino’s injury. He scored his first goal in purple in City’s May 17th 4-0 thrashing of LA – the finishing touch on what was a beautiful series of passes.
Not that the Lions need any extra motivation – they’re currently tied with Columbus for second place in the East, yet just three points from sixth – but Avila certainly has a little more to play for on Saturday.
“You always want to impress your former team and do well. I think playing home games excites me and now it’s a bonus playing against my [former] team so I’m excited.”
Dallas selected Avila with the 19th overall pick in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft. He scored a crucial 88th minute goal against RSL in the 2010 Western Conference semifinals, when FCD made their first-ever appearance in the MLS Cup. Seeing familiar faces will be nice, but after being traded away to Canada, playing against those striped jerseys will spark a fire in him.
“It’s weird. I know [people from] upstairs, to the coaching staff, and some of the players [and I] are good friends. It is weird but it’s kind of exciting. You want to prove a point.”