Soccer fans are an odd lot.
If you had told any Dallas supporter that going into last night's game they would walk away with a draw they probably would have taken it. After all, why gamble against a team that outplayed LA last week? Better safe than sorry on the road is what conventional wisdom dictates. Four points out of six on the road is a nice haul for most teams, and Dallas is no exception to that rule.
Despite the obvious "win at home, draw on the road" maxim, you won't find many Dallas fans thrilled with the result yesterday. Another late game collapse has FCD holding four points out of six instead of the full six points they could have earned from the road trip. They outplayed Toronto pretty comprehensively the entire game save for those crucial last five minutes, and that's all the media and standings will remember. Raul Fernandez' blunder and Darel Russell's wonder goal are what stick out, and they mar an otherwise satisfying performance from the Hoops.
If you talk to those who follow the game closely, you won't find many who will say that the result is anything Dallas should panic over, or that it's indicative of a game between truly even teams. In fact, I challenge anyone to make the case that Toronto was Dallas' equal for any stretch of time longer than those final five minutes.
We should be fairly satisfied with the result... so why do so many of us have a bitter taste in our mouths?
Last season Dallas was so buried by mid-July that many fans became numb to the outcome of the remaining games. There were no expectations from a team missing three to four starters on any given night. There were no expectations from a team that broke its own winless streak record. There were very few expectations from a team missing Brek Shea and David Ferreira for large chunks of the season.
In a way, this sense of bitterness at the draw is a good sign. Having expectations means we have a team that gives us reason to hope for better results. The team's chemistry in the locker room is producing on field results. Last week, some in the media questioned Dallas' ability to score (the same people who forgot Cooper's incorrectly disallowed goal), but this week should silence the critics.
Both Andrew Jacobson and Blas Perez scored very good goals, the results of either an excellent pass or build-up that was missing entirely last year, and they finished both strikes with aplomb. Jacobson continued his excellent run of form, while Michel's service keeps turning a free kick from any distance into a dangerous situation for the opposition. The 2-0 lead before the collapse was well-earned and no luck, handballs, or acts of God factored into it. Dallas simply played that much better than Toronto, and that's why we feel so unsatisfied with a draw.
But you know what? I would much rather be bitter at a draw, than feel numb at a meaningless win.
FC Dallas is 4-1-1 and still stands first in the Western Conference. That's a great start to any season and we should be happy about where we stand, not bitter about what could have been. Think of the poor Seattle Sounders and consider how badly they would like to be in our position this week.
No, the result isn't anything we should really be worried about.
The real reason to worry would be George John.