Last year, right around this time, FCD started to heat up. They had beaten DC off a Cunningham goal and had tied Philly at their temporary stadium. The LA match came around and we lost narrowly. That would be the last loss that FCD would experience until the second to last match of the year. Despite that unbeaten run the media and non-Dallas MLS fans still did not take us seriously.
We would lose to RSL in the first round.
There's NO WAY we could beat LA.
Alas, the loss to Colorado was bad luck. Those were some ugly goals they got. The doubters were, in a silly way, vindicated.
And this year... this year the lack of respect continues. So far FC Dallas has not been taken too seriously, especially since the loss of our Ace David Ferreira. The disappointing road showing at Portland was a serious blow to morale, both for the fans and for the team. The goals just were not there and with Ferreira gone it could only get worse.
Yet somehow, somehow FC Dallas has cobbled together a few victories. It started with Vancouver and has run through the match again the Union yesterday. The attack has not come by these victories by luck (though the penalty was perhaps soft), but by hard nosed, balls-to-the-wall persistence in the attacking third. The final pass isn't always there and sometimes bone-headed decisions are made (see Castillo's selfish play yesterday that could have made it 3-0) but for all its problems, I'm starting to feel hopeful.
I thought that in the Toronto match the build-up play began to look promising. The final ball was lacking but one got the feeling that the timing was off, but the intent and vision was there. Last night against the Union the passing still was not at its highest level and even so goals came, and more could have been added had a ball or two bounced their way or if the finishing had slightly better quality to is (Jacobson's blown shot comes to mind). The wing play last night was truly stellar and Castillo is starting to find his groove. Every game his understanding of the Schellas system improves and his positioning gets better. Shea continues his impressive form and Chavez is starting to find his.
Could this be the turning point for the FCD attack? Is this a sign that Rodriguez is finished as a starter (I would say definitely so)? The Union has one of the best back lines in MLS and our Hoops broke them down constantly thanks in great part to some gritty play by Jacobson, finesse by Jackson and Chavez and sheer talent from Shea and Castillo.
Perhaps I'm jinxing things, but right now there is lots of hope to be had and I'm enjoying the win. A convincing victory against a solid D will do that.
The next big test awaits in RSL next weekend. Those guys mean business.