It may be too soon to write this. Monday night's quiet crash out of the MLS Cup Playoffs is still so so fresh. Our hometown team lost by not losing or winning - victim to a technicality.
Four teams remain in contention for the trophy: New York Red Bulls, New England Revolution, Los Angeles Galaxy, and Seattle Sounders. Who should FC Dallas fans want to win, if not our own team? Is there any logical advantage or connection to one in particular? Let's break it down...
New England Revolution
1. Lee Nguyen. The midfield standout was born and raised in Richardson, TX. He graduated from Plano East Senior High School in 2005. Maybe you went to school there too? Maybe you know someone whose cousin also one time played alongside Nguyen? If a Texas team can't win MLS Cup this season, maybe at least 1 Texan can.
2. USMNT connections. Jermaine Jones has been written into Jurgen's roster with a permanent Sharpie. Lee Nguyen has been recalled into the USMNT November Camp. He may earn his first national team cap since 2007. There are also the past and future shadows in Charlie Davies and Diego Fagundez. Who can forget Charlie's stunning goal against Mexico at the Azteca? Click Here to Watch It Again Will Fagundez suit up for the Yanks? Uruguay, his birth country, has called him into a few youth camps, and US citizenship is still several years away for the youngster. Nevertheless, there are many in New England who are hoping he can become the next big thing for club and country.
New York Red Bulls
1. History. Next year, NYCFC joins MLS with glitz and cash shooting out of their ears; this will put incredible pressure on NYRB to compete for fans and attention. For years upon years, NYRB failed to live up to big market expectations, going so far as to inspire the phrase, "that's so Metro." The phrase represents countless times when the team formerly known as the NY/NJ Metrostars was just meh, despite having the star players and the expectations to win as NYC's representative club. 2013 saw NYRB win their very first trophy, the regular season Supporter's Shield. An MLS Cup win in 2014 would give the MLS O.G. an extra bit of street cred before NYCFC debuts.
2. The Hoops who couldn't. For reasons that I still can't entirely comprehend, FC Dallas let go of Dax McCarty and Eric Alexander who have gone on to impress as regular starters under Mike Petke. Both players were on the 2010 FC Dallas team that lost to Colorado in the MLS Cup Final, with Dax playing the full 90 minutes. One possible reason to root for NYRB through the end of this postseason is to see these former-FCD midfielders finally lift the cup.
Although the banner above was made by DC supporters, the jabs are already coming at NYRB and its fanbase. They could be second in their own market.
Los Angeles Galaxy
1. LegenD. If you are reading this, then I am sure you have heard at least 57 times that Landon Donovan is retiring at the end of this season. There's no longer a club vs country battle for your heart with FC Dallas eliminated, so many may choose to root for the Galaxy to see American soccer's golden boy ride off into the sunset as a champion. Just like Golden Balls. LD would also break yet another all-time record as the player earning the most MLS Cup titles. He is currently tied with Jeff Agoos and Brian Mullan with 5 apiece.
2. First to Five. LA and DC United have each won 4 MLS Cup titles. LA PR folks launched the hashtag: First to Five. DCU has since been eliminated, but LAG could go on to surpass MLS's first dynasty. Dallas fans could easily be neutral to this conquest, but if you aren't, it could be very polarizing. The Galaxy have been winning a lot in recent years (twice under Bruce Arena) thanks to their American and European stars. DCU did it in the early days (twice under Bruce Arena) with South/Central American stars and hardworking Americans trying to build a new pro league. East vs West. Old vs New. Who ya got?
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) November 11, 2014
1. The Texas Connection. This one again, may be quite polarizing. This idea will push some Dallas fans towards Seattle while pushing others the opposite direction. Clint Dempsey and Kenny Cooper come from very different backgrounds growing up in Texas, but both played their club ball in the Metroplex, spring-boarding them on to professional careers. Many Texans rooted for Clint when he played in England for Fulham and Tottenham. He has been instrumental in Seattle's success this year - will Texans still root for him in rave green? Kenny Cooper, on the other hand, logged only 989 minutes for Seattle in the regular season, his lowest ever in MLS. Nevertheless, the former Dallas player is part of the team and could ride the bench to MLS Cup glory. Would Dallas fans be happy for him?
2. Bested by the Best. Seattle knocked Dallas out of the playoffs. We can debate the merits of the away goal rule some place else. The fact remains that Dallas is out, and Seattle moves on. Maybe Dallas fans can find solace if the Sounders win their Treble. Barroom talk may sound like, "Yeah, we couldn't beat Seattle, but they won it all." You can't blame FCD for trying. At least we didn't get eliminated by Chivas USA.
It still hurts today... and probably the rest of this week. Two weeks from now, though, who will you be rooting for and why?