The End is Near – FC Dallas 2017 Regular Season
Winning isn’t always everything – but boy did it mean a whole lot for FC Dallas. Wednesday night was the first win for Dallas since, pause for effect, July 22nd. Since that last win in July, FC Dallas earned a measly 4 points out of a possible 30. That just won’t cut it in a wild MLS Western Conference this season. Dallas quickly went from being king of the castle to the lowly outcast. All seemed lost. We had fallen off the wagon. We didn’t even have a wagon anymore. This FC Dallas 2017 regular season has been one to remember, and forget.
No Rest for the Weary
It appeared that, no matter the changes and adjustments we made, Dallas found themselves leaving each match empty handed. Two months may not seem too long, but in soccer, it can be everything. National team call-ups, injuries, suspensions; all accounting for something. Matt Hedges and Kellyn Acosta stuck around with the national team in multiple stints. Kellyn getting a lot more playing time than Hedges, but both returned visibly drained. It was hard watching other CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers as well, seeing Maynor Figueroa lead his side and praying he wouldn’t get injured.
But as players returned, the hope was still there. But as we held onto that hope, it was evident that the rut was quickly turning into a sinkhole. Nothing was working. Anything and everything that could be questioned was. Even the idea of letting Pareja go was thrown out there. All notions and theories and ideas are still up and out there right now.
This is our time – or not
The match in Minnesota last Saturday looked promising. Minnesota really struggling all season and Dallas at full strength. Mauro Diaz and turf are like Superman and kryptonite – just avoid at all cost. Despite scoring first and looking decent early on, that match came to a screeching hault for Dallas – and in a hurry. Defending was, just not there. Tesho straight red. Just get to the airport and come home. By the end of that match, we were all left wondering, “Well, we’re definitely done this season.” Even having a promising schedule set up for the end of the season, it just seemed done.
This Looks Promising
Speaking with friends all week, we had planned on going to the match Wednesday night against Colorado. Knowing that it would surely be an empty house, it was, again, looking promising. Colorado playing one of their worst seasons in history, and just tanking. Full squad available besides Tesho for the red. If there was any match we needed to win, it had to be against this reeling Colorado side.
Zimmerman and Hedges hasn’t been clicking all season long. Injuries and national team duties created confusion and mixed lineups. Getting back to the normal just hasn’t worked. Pareja went strong in the back: Grana on the right, Atiba and Hedges central, and Maynor on the left. Seeing “father-time” Javi Morales in the starting lineup with Mauro Diaz was an eye catcher. Javi has seen time sparingly this season and hasn’t really played the part we all thought he would. But there is a deeper connection there with him and Mauro, and they can create.
“There’s no way we scored already”
Walking in at about the 3rd minute, we head straight to the concession stands for a beverage. The crowd roars and then cheers. I turned and said, “There’s no way we scored already.” The confidence has obviously deteriorated. But sure enough, we missed Figueroa’s tap-in. Still waiting in line, we approach the register. ANOTHER ROAR. “No way.” Way. We scored 2 goals in the first 9 minutes – and I missed both of them. Go figure. It was more befuddlement than ecstasy. The negativity came settling in quickly. “We’ll find a way to lose this one.” But we didn’t. We won a game.
To be fair, watching that match was almost sad. It was almost painful watching Colorado working around the field. It was almost like watching shadow training. Playing this game my whole life, shadow training is no fun. One team with all possession, while the other side plays to not get the ball. That’s what it looked like Wednesday night. Colorado did have a few chances, but nothing ever seemed dangerous. It just felt too easy.
Everything seemed too easy, and Dallas strolled to a 2-0 victory. Minds quickly turned to the weekend ahead. Away. Mid-day match. Orlando City. A team who has also had their ups and downs, but has looked good at home. Also coming off a 6-1 thrashing of lowly Revolution. Dwyer is finding his form. Kaka back and looking good. This team could possibly push themselves up and into the playoffs.
The match Saturday will be one of the hardest matches of the season. Both sides on the brink of playoff potential. Both sides desperate for wins. This is do or die. Stand up or shut up. This is where all the blood, sweat, and tears of a full season are tested. Dallas need a win to stay alive in a Western Conference melee. Orlando City on the outside looking in. A high energy match Saturday could be the end for one or both sides. Or it could be something spectacular. I love this game.