I woke up this morning with a song in my head. While my non-coffee filled head was still waking up, I kept saying in my head that "the kids are alright."
Last night, in what was probably one of the most entertaining games I've ever seen at Toyota Stadium ended with FC Dallas knocking off the Seattle Sounders in penalty kicks. It wasn't just the kicks that made this one exciting. No, it was the moments leading up to the end of regular time that provided the biggest drama of the year.
One late goal by Tesho Akindele. Followed up by a heartbreaking goal in the 90th minute by Chad Marshall. In years past, we would have just said "typical FCD" at that goal. But this isn't your typical FCD here as they marched back down the field and got a go-ahead goal by Walker Zimmerman. Two subs, two goals.
You'll hear the word magical thrown out a bunch today from that win. As you should. Oscar Pareja was magical in how he managed the game. He knew the exact moments to sub out David Texeira for Blas Perez. He knew that he needed the spark plugs like Akindele and Zimmerman off the bench late. He also knew to have absolute faith in young players like Kellyn Acosta to shadow the likes of Clint Dempsey on the night and for Jesse Gonzalez to come up huge in goal in the shootout. He also knew to attack the right wing with Michael Barrios time and time again last night.
This is the new reality for some people around the league that haven't watched FCD play much this season. I always tell people that newer is always better but in this case, younger may also be better too. Seattle's average age on the field last night was north of 30 while FCD had the majority of the players on the field under 25. Youth met experience and won out in a big way. By the end of overtime, Dallas looked fresh while Seattle looked gassed.
We've all given this club a lot of flack for the lack of big name signings over the course of this year but the fact of the matter is, this team, the one with the lowest payroll is going to the conference finals.
Now FCD turns their attention to Portland with hopes of reaching the MLS Cup for the second time in club history. I'm glad we get a week off before the start of that series to recover from last night. I don't know about you all but I need that week to recover. I can't even imagine how gassed the FCD players are this morning.
This ride has been fun so far, but thankfully it is not over. Not by a long shot.