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View from the West Stand: Fantastic Double-Win!

I made the switch for this game and sat in the VIP sections on the west side of the stadium this time and had a great view for both games this night.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

A humid night in Frisco with a really nice breeze blowing through was the setting for an epic double-header with 2 FCD teams taking the field each facing a different Colorado Rapid opponent. This night I was sitting on the west side to experience the game from down at field-level and what a night to choose that on. Looking over at the East stand I was very happy with the way it filled out and overall there was a great turnout for the game.

The First Game: FC Dallas vs Colorado Rapids

My seats were literally the closest you could get to the Beer Garden on the West side. Table #1, or as they labeled it at halftime: 'Best Seats in the House'. (I was on the jumbotron for an awkward full 2 minutes! Woo!) The Beer Garden was energetic as always and looked full and packed. The Snake Pit was also vocal and really went nuts when goals were scored compared to other sections I've sat around. If I might ask, what is that smoke? Smelled a little, wasn't sure what it smelled like but definitely has an aroma.

An incredible start lifted Dallas to an important win at Toyota Stadium. It seemed like the game had only just started when I saw a ball in by Michel from the right flank hit someone (Zimmerman) and saw what Matt Hedges saw: an open net. It looked like Colorado was moving the ball much more efficiently during this game, and I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out they had more possession overall. But possession doesn't matter when you can't convert, and FC Dallas converted well with Michel taking his consistency in penalty kicks and slotting in a perfect penalty that Clint Irwin had no choice at getting. From where I was sitting there was no way I could see where the foul was committed, but when I saw him pointing at the spot and the Colorado players around him I thought it was a gift from the Gods. Who slide tackles people going away from goal inside the area? Turns out it was FIFA-legend Marvell Wynne for the Rapids and we were 2-0 up so quickly it was making me nervous. When was the last time we scored 2 in such a rapid succession early in a match here at home?!

The defense was solid, save for the last challenge on Gabi Torres, and in my opinion no era penal (it wasn't a penalty). From my angle it appeared as though Watson was behind him and Torres lazily fell down and got awarded a penalty that tarnished what was a sublime defensive display from Zimmerman and Hedges. How about Zimmerman though?! Won incredible headers and paired up with Hedges for the first goal of the night. I have to give my most exciting player to watch designation to the 2nd year CB Walker Zimmerman, mainly due to him stepping up in a big way and delivering a solid performance on both sides of the field. Michel easily a close second with that goal-line clearance and incredible service into the area that resulted in 2 of our 3 goals. Really hard to pass up Michel but we needed defense to step up big after scoring 2 and they held their own wonderfully.

The Main Event: SOTX FC Dallas vs SOCO Rapids

After the game a fraction of the people in the stadium stayed to watch the Special Olympic teams from FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids square off in FCD SO's first home match against another MLS SO's team. The match was played with 'athletes' and 'partners' with the partners unable to score, only able to pass the ball to the athletes who in turn could score. But man did those guys look incredible on the field to get a 2nd win in one night for team Dallas.

Patrick Rooney was a threat up top for most of the game, a partner would feed him the ball and he'd run at defenders all night long. Delivered in a few dangerous crosses and always had the defense guessing. Rooney was easily my favorite player to watch this game and he was a machine with not needing to sub out and running hard till the last minute. In fact I believe it was Rooney's shot that cannoned off the cross bar only to find Jacob Hill in space for an easy tap-in to give FC Dallas the 1-0 lead. Jacob held his composure and buried it beneath an onrushing Luke Davidson.

The partners for FC Dallas were all constant in midfield and defense with them breaking up and sort of attack Colorado could muster and then distributing from the midfield to our forwards Patrick Rooney and Steven McIlhaney. McIhaney scored off one of these distributions as partner Hannah Higgins found Steven and his marker couldn't close him in time and he toe poked past Luke Davidson for FC Dallas' 2nd of the night to secure the victory. Reece Halfmann, the FC Dallas goalkeeper, kept his clean sheet and definitely deserved it. Fired up all game, Reece made a couple of important stops and chased down the ball whenever any were sent into the box. Alex Cowan helped preserve the clean sheet with an important block on a Colorado shot. It was a hard shot that cannoned off the torso of Cowan and sent him to the ground. He got right back up and continued his solid defensive work in from of Halfmann.

Colorado had some threats going forward, and FC Dallas had to be careful at the back to keep a solid defense. The FCD defense was able to hold Ibsen Ojeda Ayala without too many touches, keeping the ball away from the Colorado danger-man was one key to their clean sheet this night. His work rate was phenomenal and was only subbed out once if I remember correctly. The man tasked with holding up and dealing with Patrick Rooney was Sam Villela the Colorado left back. He made really nice defensive stops and really had his hands full for most of the night. Morgan Butler also deserves a shoutout here. Her constant patrol of the left sideline, and ability to be find the spaces when they opened up got her a few touches on the ball. Valiant effort from the SOCO Rapids here at Toyota Stadium and fantastic sportsmanship from both teams.

The game ended 2-0 with both teams given it their all. Both games ended up with Dallas having a 2-goal margin. In conclusion, it was the most perfect night of the entire season for me. 2 big wins in one night.

Zimmerman or Michel or someone else, who was your favorite player out there tonight? 2 wins to start off August, can anyone else smell the playoffs? How about our awesome SOTX team?! Leave comments below!