The Major League Soccer season is always set to the tune of a series of streaks. FC Dallas is no stranger to streaks as they've had long unbeaten spells this season and a rather unfortunate winless streak too. But even though the current winning streak is at two games going into the final week of the regular season, the momentum is starting to build at the right time of the year.
Saturday's 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids wasn't anything special when you look at it as a whole. FC Dallas took care of business against a team in really poor form while other results in the league helped push FCD to third place in the Western Conference.
Taking care of business
Lets be real honest for a moment about this 1-0 win over Colorado. It wasn't pretty. The first half was mostly a mess that didn't see either side come up with anything positive on front of goal. But we have to give credit once again to Oscar Pareja for making vital changes when he needed to by bringing in Tesho Akindele and Kellyn Acosta at halftime. Those two added the spice that was needed to bring home some points.
In all the effort was solid despite the lack of chances and the ugliness the first half brought. Zach Loyd and Matt Hedges were back together in the middle of the defense and while I think having a healthy Walker Zimmerman with Hedges makes sense longterm, I can't help but think that a Hedges/Loyd pairing for the playoffs just makes the most sense. Against a much more skilled Portland team this weekend we'll see exactly where Papi is going with his lineup.
Another smart change was bringing Adam Moffat back into the midfield with Victor Ulloa. There is something about Ulloa with a veteran guy like Moffat (or Hendry Thomas when he was healthy) that just flat out works well for this group. I may touch on the best lineup selection for the playoffs later today or tomorrow.
And lastly, it was great to see Blas Perez take care of business from the penalty spot. I was dreading seeing him take the kick but he calmly finished it.
[I also wonder what the top five would be for FCD come penalty kick time too. Off the top of my head the order would be Michel, Perez, Castillo, Escobar and Loyd?]
Momentum vs rest
In a small way the playoffs have already begun. At least the games are feeling that way. FCD controls their own destiny right now, which is a place where fans should want to see the club at during this time of the year. I'd much rather get to the point where my team controls their fate rather than having to depend on the fates of others.
So going into the final week of the season with the third place spot firmly within reach, I hope Oscar Pareja and the club go all out for it. I assume they will given the quotes they've had in recent weeks about how important it is.
Some players have brought up the momentum the fourth place spot could bring to the team. We have seen a couple teams do well in that spot on the way to a deep run into the playoffs, but I would much rather avoid that game.
I'm sure everyone associated with FCD would prefer to do the same when you consider the fact that a win in the wild card game would mean two really quick home games back-to-back. In terms of creating the best atmosphere possible for the club, I'd rather put all my chips behind being the three seed and playing that first game at home rather than having the wild card game and then potentially that match with the top seed, which will be a tad more rested.
Rest is key at this point of the season, as is health. Despite all the injuries that FCD has picked up this season, they are finally at a point where you could argue that they are the healthiest that they've been since...geez...I don't know 2010. A win this weekend will keep players rested for the games that matter the most.