Bobby Rhine has an excellent, pump you up, piece on FCD beginning Champions League play tomorrow. Give it a full read, but here's a little excerpt.
If you had a chance to deepen your connection with “the game” – to write your own chapter in its proud history – wouldn’t you seize it? FC Dallas, players, staff and fans have the chance to be part of something bigger than themselves, and the journey begins on Thursday night.
For me, the 2011 Champions League is the culmination of 2 years of hard work for Schellas Hyndman and, on a more selfish note, for really 3 years of hard work for the fans who have stuck by this team through the thick of last season and the very thin of 2008-2009.
On my trip down the Tollway(cue four seasons music) to work every morning, I see a Budweiser billboard promoting the Dallas Mavericks NBA Championship that says "There's no time like your first." For FC Dallas fans and players, last year was a first. Sure, there wasn't a championship, but it was the first time to play on the big stage at MLS Cup.
Tomorrow comes another first, Champions League play. It's how you are measured on a continental scale. I've watched jealously in the past as Real Salt Lake, Columbus and co play late into the night at exotic locations around the continent wondering how great it would be to see FCD measuring up against names like Saprissa and Cruz Azul.
Sure, we've had Club America, Chivas, Pachuca and Tigres roll through here in pseudo-competitive games, but if you want to see FC Dallas get international respect on Medio Tiempo, Univision and company, you win these upcoming games.
As we saw last night in Panama, nothing comes easy on the international stage. On paper, Seattle should roll through a tiny team like San Francisco, but that wasn't the case last night as they went home with a 1-0 deficit to overturn. Let that serve as a warning to FCD that tomorrow is going to be a game atmosphere like nothing many of the players have experienced before, both in the stands and on the pitch.
It's one that players like Marvin Chavez, Jair Benitez and Daniel Hernandez will relish, but some of the less experienced guys could find over their heads. This isn't Columbus on a Wednesday night, this is the Estadio Cuscatlan where El Salvador lost just twice in the entire 2010 World Cup Qualifying cycle.
For the fans, this is an opportunity to promote your team. Tell your buddies to turn on Fox Soccer at 9PM tomorrow night. The El Salvadorian community will come out to Frisco next Wednesday, make no mistake about that. However, if every fan brings a couple of friends to the game it will be a very pro-FCD crowd, do your part and fill the stadium for these games. It's win or go home, casual fans will get hooked.
Remember, there's no time like your first. Enjoy the next week and hopefully the upcoming group stage because you don't know when you'll get to experience this again. Hey, maybe even do something crazy like book a trip to see FCD play in either Mexico City or Panama City if they make the group stage.
We'll take a more in-depth look at Alianza later.