Given Seattle's shaky form, fans might well have entertained hopes that Dallas could put one over on those damned Sounders. The team rose to the occasion and gave fans a proper finale for their last home game of the season.
Dallas' starting lineup was what most fans were expecting or hoping for. Walker Zimmerman, Peter Luccin and Kellyn Acosta all got major minutes, and luckily for Dallas fans, they all had pretty solid outings. Their performances instills a bit of hope for next season as Dallas tries to rebuild and move on past the Hyndman era.
Help From Seattle and The Rooks
Seattle's injuries came back to hurt the team, and how. Eddie Johnson didn't play, and neither did Obafemi Martins. Their absence was part of the reason why Clint Dempsey was so pedestrian in a game that needed leadership and panache. Deuce provided little despite some decent efforts. That's very a good thing, because Dallas' defense at first clearly showed signs of being played with two men who are relatively new to the system. Walker Zimmerman in particular struggled, his lack of positional awareness nearly costing Dallas a goal or two.
Luckily for Zim, Matt Hedges cleared up several mistakes and was, in many ways, the man of the match. Hedges took an active role in helping organize the team and defended with authority and force. His goal showed not only an incredible vertical jump (go look at that goal again. He must have jumped a mile off the ground.) but also a serious desire to beat his man. While set piece goals are all a bit of luck, it requires that killer instict that so many in this team have shown at one point or another. It's particularly encouraging that it's not Hedges' only goal this season. His second season showed no signs of a significant sophomore slump, making Dallas have some certainty in their lineup during an offseason that should see many changes.
On a final note, Zimmerman made mistakes, but he was otherwise very good for a first year defender. These kinds of mistakes will get ironed out with some more time. Given what we've seen, it's exciting to think of a season with a fully (hopefully) healthy Zim. Should FCD lose GJ to injury or anything other reason, the kid has shown he has what it takes to contribute in a meaningful manner. Dallas won't be worried about CB depth this coming season, not with the midfield being a void of sorrow.
Meanwhile, what about that Peter Luccin? The man made a very good impression for a debut start. If he can maintain his health next season, the midfield situation goes from being "dire" to "merely deficient". A few smart buys, trades, or signings, and the team could plug a lot of that broken, leaky dyke. Dalllas is definitely going to need Luccin's help to ensure that Dallas doesn't drown in the Sea of Mediocrity that killed the Hoops this year.
As a side note: What did you think of Michel kissing the team's jersey and bowing berfore it? Now that's a way to build some goodwill.
A Farewell and a New Era
Schellas Hyndman coached his last home game of his career as FC Dallas manager, and it was oddly fitting this the decision he made, Kenny Cooper for Michel, was just as bizarre at the time as it was effective laster in the game. Curses were hurled at my TV as I saw the change, and yet look at the result.
It's not something I'd like to see every game, but it's somehow poetic that the game end with a victory in part because of a decision that had fans moaning at the time. It would certainly follow the mold of the rest of Hyndman's tenure.
The players had nothing but good things to say about him, and the media received some thanks from the gaffer for their treatment of him and his players. It's telling in that the media were not averse to criticizing his decisions, but never crossed the line into the ugly and awful approaches taken by media around the world. Real respect between the manager and the media isn't a common thing in soccer. That respect allowed the media time to criticize and discuss with respect, and not with name calling.
All that said, I'm ready for a change at the helm.
But parting is bittersweet and saying goodbye is always a little bit of a downer. It's a good thing the home season ended on such a nice note.
Food For Thought:
- What was the biggest reason Dallas managed to beat Seattle?
- Are you surprised Dallas won? Why or why not?
- Could Seattle have done something differnetly? They came close to scoring several times.