My apologies for the Cowboys losing, but FC Dallas’ 2017 campaign begins in just under two months. The team faces Árabe Unido in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals in 37 days and starts its MLS season in 46 days. Oh, and it might just be the best roster the team has had in recent years.
The MLS All-Star roster was released on Sunday and it’s hard to call the 26 players the best 26 players in the league. To counteract the “big names” getting into the game despite poor performances, the league needs to find a way to get the best 26 players on the all-star roster, no matter how big their names are.
The last three weeks have been very kind to FC Dallas. The last three weeks have been very kind to FC Dallas.
Since coming back from the franchise-record five-match road trip that saw them travel all over, from Montreal to Seattle and a number of points in between, and securing just two points, the Hoops have seen their fortunes reverse here the past few weeks. In the last three matches, though sandwiched in between a 4-0 U.S. Open Cup loss to Kansas City, FC Dallas has rebounded nicely with three wins — all of which were shutout victories. The result was a massive swing for the Hoops, who went from just above the playoff cutoff line to in a three-way tie for first in the Western Conference with games in hand over Vancouver and Seattle.
But as with all good things, there is a kicker: those three teams — Houston, New England and Orlando — weren’t exactly quality opponents. Houston is, well, Houston. New England has struggled mightily this month. And Orlando was missing Kaka, Cyle Larin (the two of which have been basically all of their offense) and Brek Shea.
Now, FC Dallas will get a chance to secure that quality win that they’ve been missing in this recent run with a home match Saturday against Eastern Conference leading D.C. United.
In the first match in six weeks at Toyota Stadium, FC Dallas took it to the Houston Dynamo in the middle leg of the Texas Derby. The Hoops dominated the first half of the match, taking a 2-0 early lead thanks to Fabian Castillo. The first goal came off of an own goal that Castillo forced with a pretty good low cross in the box. The second goal came off of a great, creative one-two play between Castillo and Mauro Diaz, with Diaz springing Castillo for the score. And the FC Dallas defense showed up once again, allowing just three shots on goal and recording the team’s fifth clean sheet of the season.
And now the most important thing the FC Dallas can do is to keep this momentum rolling in another home match against New England Saturday.
FC Dallas started off the season incredibly hot. Through the first three games, the Hoops scored three wins — the only team to pull off the feat this year — and after ten matches had secured 20 points.
But the last four matches have not been nearly as kind to FC Dallas. In those matches, the Hoops have mustered just two draws and had a 4-0 loss to Kansas City. Yikes.
This season, the 24-year-old from Argentina has proven to be an incredibly vital player for the Hoops. In six games played in this season, Diaz has scored twice and has assisted on four other goals. Tack on this start to last year where he posted three goals and three assists in an injury-plagued season and it’s easy to see him being such a key part for the club.
Which leads to this simple statement: FC Dallas will only go as far this season as Diaz takes them.
FC Dallas held on for a weird victory, their first win in almost a month, and in the early goings, when the match was business as usual, the Hoops looked like their usual, dominant selves. And now the trick is keep the momentum from that win going on the road at Colorado this weekend.
The last two matches for the Hoops have been just about forgettable, with both seeing them just miss road draws minutes from the full time whistle. And with those losses, FC Dallas has fallen from a tie in the Western Conference lead to the fourth place position and into a fight to avoid the one-game playoff to start the postseason.
So, that means one thing: the match this Saturday against Vancouver is now a must-win for FC Dallas.
After a nine-match unbeaten streak in MLS action (and 13-match unbeaten streak in all competitions since the PK loss to Philadelphia technically goes down as a draw), FC Dallas finds itself in a position to come real close to get back to the top of the conference with a win Friday night at home against conference leader Real Salt Lake in a nationally televised affair.
And with it, the Hoops have the best shot to prove that they are no fluke and different than the team from the past couple of seasons and announce that they are here with a win in arguably the biggest match in MLS this year.
It’s been well documented that FC Dallas went into a near-death spiral around the end of spring, going on an eight-match losing streak, but then coming back over the summer to go on a matching eight-game unbeaten streak in MLS action and an 11-match unbeaten streak in all competitions.
At the heart of the turn around has been the Hoops’ play in the U.S. Open Cup. In their three matches so far in the tournament, they’ve outscored their opponents 10-4, with their latest victory being a 5-2 win at the Carolina Railhawks back in early July. And with their semifinal match tonight against the Philadelphia Union, FC Dallas will be head back to the final for the first time since 2007.
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