CARSON CA - OCTOBER 24: Goalkeeper Dario Sala #44 of FC Dallas dives to make a save in the second half during the MLS match against the Los Angeles Galaxy on October 24 2010 in Carson California. The Galaxy defeated FC Dallas 2-1. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
So I made a post on twitter earlier saying I hope there's some sort of tribute to Dario Sala who ends his time in Frisco as an FC Dallas legend. The reaction was quite mixed so I thought I would explain myself here and throw it in front of the rest of the readers.
With the signing of Chris Seitz, Dario Sala's time as a player in Frisco has likely ended after nearly 5 1/2 seasons with just 12 players in MLS who have been with their current team longer than Sala. He departs FC Dallas as the longest tenured player on the roster and someone who I believe departs as an FC Dallas legend.
For most players it's about stats, Jason Kreis certainly falls into this category. He left Dallas having scored more goals for his team than anyone in MLS history. Admittedly, I was not a close follower of the team until 2004 so perhaps he doesn't hold the place in my heart that he does for some old timers, but is there really anyone who would list Jason Kreis as their favorite player of all time? Probably not, but how could you say Jason Kreis is not a franchise legend...
Then there's the rare combination of stats and heart that Oscar Pareja has. 171 starts, 13 goals and 52 assists, MLS Best XI in 2002, an icon in the community and still a fixture on the fields around Pizza Hut Park transforming our future players from boys into future professionals.
Dario Sala doesn't have the stats. His career 1.38 GAA in 99 MLS games is good, but not eye popping.
His stats can be a bit misleading however, as there have been some pretty poor defenders in front of him. Davino, Wagner, Torres, Dello-Russo, Serioux to name a few.
However, Dario "el general" Sala's legacy at FC Dallas isn't about stats, it's about so much more.
It's about Dario Sala's incredible journey to Texas.(Read this)
It's about running around like a madman when Carlos Ruiz equalized against Chicago.
It's visiting the post-game tailgate in 2005 after losing to Colorado in the playoffs.
It's not only saving but scoring the winning penalty down in Monterrey to give FCD the 2-leg win over Tigres(Believe me it mattered that year)
It's breaking the mold of Mark Dodd, Matt Jordan, DJ Countess and Scott Garlick with a goalkeeper the likes of which hadn't really been seen in north Texas.
It's why Hunter Freeman will be abused again when he returns with Houston this year. (Despite never really doing anything wrong)
It's the most interesting FC Dallas player in the world.
I'm sure theres a dozen other Dario stories I'm forgetting, but no matter the stats, no matter the bad teams he played on(it's a shame his 2008 season was played in front of such a terrible defense), Dario Sala deserves a high place in FC Dallas history. Whether or not he has a future with FCD in another capacity, Dario will always be a hero to those who have stood in section 116.
Here's to you Dario, don't be a stranger around Pizza Hut Park in the future.
I mean this with all sincerity: I love the United States. I love the opportunities it has given me and the safety it provides my family. I will always be grateful to this country, this league and FC Dallas for the happiness I’ve known here.