Seems like it was just last week the club was out training in the Middle East. We were all wondering what the heck kind of preseason we were getting here and what kind of season would come as a result. Pareja was coming back to the club as the successor to Schellas Hyndman, bringing new faces with him in the form of Hendry Thomas, Tesho Akindele, David Texeira, and Andres Escobar. It was a year where no one really knew what we'd end up doing, but one that I'm convinced we overachieved on if we think in terms of that preseason worries. Along this season though there were highs and lows both at home and away from home. Here's some of the ones I know you guys remember.
First on my list has to be beating Houston twice. Not just beating them, but the way we beat them both times. We went to their barely filled house, and their former player donning their rivals' kit scored a brace on them en route to an amazing 1-4 victory for FC Dallas. My favorite goal of the game has to be the last one where JVW just calmly passes it into the net after a pass from Diaz. So nonchalant. Then beating them again in their own house, this time in cup play. Extra time down in Houston, and FCD gets a late goal to crush the heart of the Dynamo fan in attendance. Two crushing wins against our rivals, not sure it can get much better than that.
Beating the LA Galaxy on a late header from the unlikeliest of players to head it in. I have to say this was like a dream when it happened. So many annoying LAG fans in attendance, and when Castillo headed that in their dismay was our collective pleasure. A euphoric feeling erupted as we beat Landon Donovan on his final visit over to Frisco, Texas as our opponent. What a way to send of the legend.
Beating RSL at home in a 10 v 12 man victory. The amount of frustration from the game, being finally released when we beat one of the 'elite' teams of the MLS. Their whole team was cranky, and the ref wrongfully sent off Blas Perez for getting shoved. Revenge was just absolutely blissful during this game as we held on to win the game with a man down and yellow team working against us.
Crushing Colorado in what was supposed to be a 'rivalry' hyped up by MLS people. Remember at the beginning of the season how FC Dallas & Pareja were being vilified by the MLS masses for being reunited? And how everyone was waiting for the matches between the Rapids and FCD seeing them as 'revenge' matches? Then we went ahead and swept all 3 games against them. Yeah, not really a rivalry when a team dominates, and not even a peep out of MLS and the Rapids fans about this made up rivalry. Satisfying.
That penalty shootout against the Philadelphia Union is immediately the first low that springs to mind. Literally stood there for 5 full minutes, staring at the field in complete dejection. We took the Union all the way to extra time after a long journey only to lose by the cruelest of methods. FC Dallas had plenty of opportunities but just couldn't put them away. Still hurts a little, we could've hosted an MLS cup final. :(
April till around the beginning of June. This part of the season is one we don't talk about around these parts. Started with the DC United game and finally ended by trashing Pareja's former team the Rapids. Losing to San Jose twice, drawing against Chivas USA, man, let this be the last time we mention this.
Losing in the playoffs by drawing twice. It was the ultimate heartbreak that still resonates in the hearts of all Dallas fans this season. The Seattle Sounders tied us at our house 1-1, then won the tie on a 0-0 draw at their own home in which we had several chances. It was a valiant effort that really proved to be our high water mark as we were knocked out by the newly implemented 'away goals' rule. Disappointing to say the least...
That's it for the highs and lows from my memory of this season. Of course there's more positives than negatives because I'm an optimist. I think this season was successful when measured against what our early predictions were and there's undoubtedly a bright future for FCD while Pareja is at the helm. Any highs and lows I missed that you guys can't help but express in the comments below? Leave some of your own so we can all reminisce days gone by.