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Zimmerman clutch in first MLS start

FC Dallas defender Walker Zimmerman (25) walks on the field with a youth soccer players before the game against the San Jose Earthquakes at FC Dallas Stadium. FC Dallas won 1-0. (Photo: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

FC Dallas defender Walker Zimmerman (25) walks on the field with a youth soccer players before the game against the San Jose Earthquakes at FC Dallas Stadium. FC Dallas won 1-0. (Photo: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

In his first Major League Soccer start, Brookwood grad Walker Zimmerman made a major impact.

The FC Dallas rookie defender, in addition to helping a back line that posted a 1-0 shutout over the San Jose Earthquakes, sparked the match's only goal Saturday with his clearance directly to teammate David Ferreira. Ferreira went on the counterattack and the sequence finished up with Fabian Castillo's game-winning goal.

“(Zimmerman) made some good choices, good passes, he won a lot of balls in the air, he was physical, but that ball in particular,” FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said in an MLSSoccer.com story. “I think the more we see him, that’s going to be one of his strengths, that he makes good decisions. A lot of people under pressure might kick it out, but he looked to see where that next ball was going.”

Zimmerman is one of the top young American defenders, a Generation Adidas signee and a first-round pick (seventh overall) by FC Dallas in this year's MLS Draft. He played two seasons at Furman before accepting the Adidas deal to join the pro league early.

The 6-foot-3 defender has played three games this season, but Saturday was his first start, a showing that was highlighted by his play to set up the game-winner.

“When that play happened, it was almost like we went straight back to the practice ground,” Zimmerman said on MLSSoccer.com. “George (John), cover near post, I’m watching the runner, so we picked it up well and I was able to get a good head on it, and David did a great job with the counter and then Fabian with the great finish for the goal.”