Grand Prairie, TX – Texas United is on the road again on Friday, June 15th against the AHFC Royals in a Mid-South Division clash. The AHFC Royals are currently at the top of the division with 12 points and have two more games played than Texas United. Texas United sits second in the standings with 10 points and lead Corpus Christi FC only on goal differential.

In preparation for the next game, we sat down with some players to assess and evaluate their performance of the team as a whole, the individual players, and the coaching staff. Additionally, the players shared who their teams are for the upcoming World Cup and tried to settle the never-ending debate: Ronaldo, or Messi?

The experience playing for Texas United and in the Premier Development League has been a new one for many of the players this season. Forward Jorge Barrientos shared his thoughts on the season. “Since I’ve gotten here I’ve feel really comfortable and all the players get along,” Barrientos said. “There’s a lot of talented players, so young players like us really get to play with experienced players that have played somewhat at a pro level,” he continued.

Alex Egeonu, another forward, said, “I’ve been playing with a lot of the players in the past and we’ve really enjoyed it. So far this season we have done pretty good and it’s been a fun experience.” Ben Hale, a goalkeeper, shared his opinion with us. “It’s been a good experience so far. Most of the faces you see are people you’ve played with growing up or on the same team with, so it’s been a good experience with friendships and experiences.”

Out of 74 teams in the PDL, Hale currently sits third overall in total saves and looks to keep up his good form. “There’s pressure to stay consistent. If someone tells me I’m a well-respected goalkeeper, that’s something I want to keep and reflect in college and the PDL,” Hale said.

Head coach Arez Ardalani is in his first season as a head coach, and his players have reflected on the experience working with him so far. “When you have a new coach, they always bring something new. He and Nasko bring quality sessions so we get to pick up important details from both coaches to help us become more rounded soccer players,” Hale said. Egeonu also had great things to say about the coaching staff at Texas United. “Coach Nasko and Coach Arez bring the quality, knowledge, and wisdom to the game and influence our play,” Egeonu said.

Midfielders Dominick Hernandez and Ivan Alvarado are already looking forward to the next match. “As a team, we need to come back with a result,” he said when asked about his expectations for the upcoming match. “We need to bounce back from our loss and tie. I think we need to send out another message to the PDL that we are Texas United, we are Dallas, and this is our turf,” he continued. Alvarado had similar thoughts on the next match. “As a team we need to send a message to everyone in our conference saying we’re in first place and we are staying there,” he said.

In light of an extended break, we decided to have some fun with the players and get their thoughts on the upcoming World Cup and join to public debate on who is the better player. Ronaldo or Messi. Check out what they had to say below:

Q: What team are you cheering for in the World Cup?

Hale: “I won’t pick a team until later. I’m going to watch as a fan for now. I don’t have a favorite team just yet.”

Egeonu: “I’m going to go for France. They have the most talented young players, I think.”

Barrientos: “I’m really a USA fan, so I wouldn’t say I have a favorite. I just want to see good games throughout the World Cup.”

Hernandez: “Personally Mexico, but realistically maybe Germany. Germany is just an unstoppable team. They have depth on depth.”

Alvarado: “Mexico would be my favorite. Realistically I feel like Argentina could take it. They have the best player in the world.”

Q: Personal preference, do you like Ronaldo or Messi better?

Hale: “I like Messi better. They both have different styles, and his style is just godlike. You have to respect him.”

Egeonu: “I say Ronaldo. I don’t know, I mean that bicycle kick. It was just crazy.”

Barrientos: “When I was younger I was a Ronaldo fan until Barcelona played against them one time and Messi scored. Ever since then, I’ve been a Messi fan.”

Hernandez: “I say Messi. I just feel as if he is a more complete player as a playmaker and a goal scorer.”

Alvarado: “It’s hard to say honestly. I think Messi is a better player than Ronaldo, I just like Ronaldo better. He’s a hard worker and has worked so hard to be where he is now.”

Q: Who performs better in the World Cup: Messi or Ronaldo?

Hale: “I kind of want to say Messi, but whoever does perform better I would say makes a strong argument for who is better than the other one. This will be the ultimate test to see who is the G.O.A.T.”

Egeonu: “I feel like Messi has more pressure. Too much pressure is going to affect him, just like against Chile. I feel like Ronaldo has more talent around him and has less pressure.”

Barrientos: “Messi. Coming from a final loss, it is going to motivate him even more to try and win it this year.”

Hernandez: “It’ll be close. Most likely Ronaldo, but Messi will definitely be up there with him. It depends on the team in the groups.”

Alvarado: “If you look at Ronaldo’s track record, he has more goals scored against lesser teams than the favorites, so I feel in the group stage probably Ronaldo and that’ll carry over to the rest.”