The best part about FC Dallas’ 2-1 win over Vancouver Saturday night wasn’t that they actually won the game. It wasn’t Blas Perez’s half-cross, half-prayer of a goal to open the scoring. It wasn’t even that they bounced back after the Whitecaps had tied to take the three points.
Instead, the best part about that win is that they didn’t let the past two loses turn into three and another late season swoon.
With Perez’s goal off of a Michel free kick and a what-in-the-world-are-you-think move by Vancouver keeper David Ousted, the Hoops now have positive momentum after two road losses had them going the other way. And now it’s time to capitalize on that change.
First thing’s first though and that Perez goal was something else. Even as a fan of the team, I have to say that was most likely a cross and Perez probably would agree. But the spin that he had on it was wicked and caught Ousted–and everyone else–off guard, which allowed the ball to get into the back of the net. Simply amazing stuff from the Panamanian forward.
Now to what this does for the Hoops. First off, this win solidifies their spot in the postseason. No, they haven’t clinched yet–that will in all likely hood come down to the final few weeks of the season. But they put distance between them and Portland, who sits in sixth, nine points behind FC Dallas. They also jumped back into the race for the third spot, now only a point behind Real Salt Lake and even on matches played. Avoiding the wild card play-in game would be huge, especially having to play first-place Seattle in the next round.
And the win after two losses and outsiders just waiting for FC Dallas to go on another late-season swan dive to the bottom does a lot of good for the national perception. No one has really taken this team too terribly seriously because of their history the past few seasons. In those years, FC Dallas would be in a great position to make the playoffs, then drop off once September and October hit to either fall out of the playoff picture completely or just make the wild card match.
But this season feels different. Soccer folks in the DFW area have felt it, but it hasn’t transmitted across the country yet. But keeping the ship pointed in the right direction, getting that third spot ahead of RSL and putting in a decent performance in the postseason will do the trick.
Of course, the schedule for FC Dallas will be the hardest part. They still have two matches against Los Angeles, as well as matches against Seattle, Portland and one more versus Vancouver. That’s a very difficult gauntlet to run and get results, but the payoff is that they can make up ground on the rest of the Western Conference if they can get those results.
The win Saturday was huge for sure in keeping the positive momentum, but it will only remain huge if they can use it as a spring board to past RSL for the third playoff spot and keep things going in the right direction.