It’s early in the season and there are still 27 games left to be played, but FC Dallas is sitting atop MLS and at least have made a name for itself in the league.
The Hoops kept their top spot thanks to a last-minute winner from Blas Perez last Saturday. FC Dallas fell behind to Toronto FC early in the game off what essentially was an own goal on a poor clearance and a cross into the box; however, FC Dallas got back to level towards the end of the half as Matt Hedges scored a header on one of 16 corners for the Hoops, which is a team record.
Coming out of the break, FC Dallas was clearly the better team with the better chances, but nothing came to fruition until a free kick in the attacking half which resulted in a scrum for the ball in front of the net which Perez poked home for the 2-1 win and gave FC Dallas 16 points for the season.
But now, things are about to get a little bit interesting for the Hoops.
So far this season, FC Dallas has played all but two of its games in Frisco; however, five of the team’s next seven games are away, including trips to Washington D.C., Seattle and Real Salt Lake.
This is going to be where the real test for the team begins and we’ll find out whether or not this team is legitimate contenders for the playoffs or not.
As it is with all sports, it’s relatively easy to win at home with the nonexistent travel and the crowd fully behind you, but going on the road is a different story. First there are the travel days which costs the team a day of practice and then the unfamiliarity of the area and stadium and then once the game finally begins, the crowd is against you and doing their best to make your life miserable.
What makes it even worse is when you’re playing good teams on the road too, which is exactly the situation FC Dallas finds itself in on this road trip. The five opponents the Hoops will be playing on the road have combined for 45 points this season–an average of nine per game. Two of those opponents–Seattle and Real Salt Lake–each have 13 points and are directly behind FC Dallas in the Western Conference. I know it’s still early in the season, but those games are going to be huge for sure.
That match at Seattle though will be a revenge game of sorts for the Hoops. Two weeks ago, the Sounders stole three points in Frisco, coming back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to take a 3-2 win thanks to some heroics from U.S. national team star Clint Dempsey. I’m sure that the loss hasn’t sat too well with the team and they’ll be wanting to steal a win of their own at the very tough CenturyLink Field to show that they are for real.
As I said in a post on the Rangers earlier this week, championships aren’t won seven or even ten games into a season, but they certainly be lost during that stretch. With the schedule FC Dallas has going for it over the next month or so, it’s going to have to secure at least a point in every one of those matches on the road to keep the momentum going and continue to stay at or near the top of the league and the Western Conference.
This is going to be the real first test for this team.