Last season FC Dallas was just happy to be in the playoffs, but that’s not the case this season after the team finished as the top seed in a loaded Western Conference.
In his first year as head coach of FCD, Oscar Pareja began implementing the culture you see in Frisco today. Last season, the players were just beginning to understand and buy in as Dallas was eliminated by the Seattle Sounders from the MLS Cup playoffs without even losing a match. This season, the team has bought in and follows Pareja blindly.
The players admit that last year was great. But, in Pareja’s second year, he’s creating a culture of success.
"We have a team of 28 guys here that have all bought in to the same game plan, the same idea," Ryan Hollingshead said. "A lot of our guys are the same from last year, but I think everybody’s bought in."
FC Dallas has already made great leaps under Parjea’s guide, but he’s hoping to take the next step: win the MLS Cup.
"Last year we were very happy to bring the team into the playoffs," Pareja said. "We’re going into the playoffs with a winning mentality. That mentality is what we’re going to carry into the playoffs."
The team knows many consider them underdogs, even though they’re the top seed in the West and were inches away from winning the Supporters’ Shield. The players look around the locker room and know they don’t have the biggest names in MLS. In fact, Dallas has the lowest payroll in the league. But, they don’t consider themselves underdogs.
"We feel like we can take anybody down," Hollingshead said.
Unbeaten in their last five, FCD is starting to peak at just the right time heading into the playoffs.
"We feel like we’re clicking," Hollingshead said. "We’re clicking at the right time. Right now we’re clicking as we head into the playoffs, which is huge. People are healthy, we’re ready to go."