While the boys are off this week, I am not. In this edition of the Hat Trick, I'll give you some thoughts on the team two-thirds into the season.
A Tale of Two Cities
So far this season, FC Dallas has shown us an issue of theirs that is pretty normal in professional sports — the team is much better at home than they are on the road. Through 22 games, the team is 8-2-1 at home with a +10 goal differential while only being 3-3-5 at home with a -3 goal differential.
This would be more alarming if it wasn't for the great home record. That being said, the team has six road games left, and five of those six are against current playoff teams, plus a game in Salt Lake, which will never be a favorable match for anyone. If the team can get a result in four if not five of those, the team has an excellent shot at the supporters shield, assuming home form continues.
Fresh Faces Leaving Traces
FC Dallas made a few moves in the past offseason, although nothing groundbreaking in comparison to some of the other acquisitions from other teams. That being said, this season, Atiba Harris and Dan Kennedy, both brought in via Re-Entry/Dispersal Drafts, have shined. The team is 9-2-3 when Atiba starts on defense, with a +11 goal differential.
Dan Kennedy took over for Chris Seitz eight games into the season, and while he hasn't put up much better per-game numbers, his presence has certainly been felt. Kennedy has five shutouts in 15 games, only one less than he had in 33 games last season with Chivas USA. Kennedy also had a 439-minute shutout streak, which is the longest in the league this season. Both of these players have made differences in the team, even if they aren't always on the front page of the stat sheet.
Be Healthy, Be Happy
I touched on earlier this season, but FC Dallas is astronomically healthier this season. Last season, the injuries plus summer call-ups really contributed to the winless streak. This season however, things are much different. The team has lost 72 fewer total player-games this season. Last year, 105 total games were missed by 18 FC Dallas players, whereas this season, only 27 total games have been missed by six players.
I know that's a lot of math, but i'll put it this way, FC Dallas players aren't missing games this year and it's playing off as the team actually has issues finding where to place players, instead of having issues just finding enough players to play with.
The team has 12 games left, a majority against playoff teams, and if this team is going to compete and continue to lead the race for the Supporters' Shield, they'll have to get better on the road, stay hot at home, have contribution from new additions and stay heathy.
Be sure to vote in the poll below and comment with what you've noticed most this season!