Here we are again. Another two huge games sitting in front of FC Dallas. One could argue that these two matches are the two biggest so far this year. We play Colorado, the number two team in the Supporters Shield standings, Saturday night and then follow that up with the US Open Cup (USOC) championship Tuesday. With the significance of both matches, a lot of us at Big D Soccer have differing opinions on where the priorities should be at.
Argument 1 - Go all in against Colorado
A win would all but eliminate them from the Supporters Shield race and show some serious strength against a team that we will potentially see in the playoffs. On top of that, by getting a win, not only are you putting more space between us and Colorado, but it also cancels out their games in hand to an extent. If FCD wins Saturday night, they would be up by 11 points with Colorado only have seven matches left to play. A double digit lead would be huge in the standings.
In the soccer world, winning the Supporters Shield holds more prestige than winning a league cup/USOC. It really shows how strong of a side your club really is. To have the best record in the league, over 34 games, while playing in the West, would be a huge accomplishment.
One other note. New England revolution are playing in New York Saturday evening as well. They are fighting to get into the playoffs and will probably be putting up a good lineup there. So, even if you do roll out a full lineup against Colorado, there is a chance that New England will be doing the same. On top of that, they are going to have to catch a three hour flight to Dallas after their match.
Argument 2 - Rest Starters against Colorado
FC Dallas has done a tremendous job of marketing the USOC match. Last I saw, the stadium was all but sold out. The fan base is genuinely excited about the opportunity for this club to win their first trophy in 19 years. If the club was to roll out a slightly weakened lineup and then come up short in this match, I fear the fanbase would lose their mind. Honestly, I don’t know if they would be wrong either. Opportunities to win hardware don’t come along that often and to that point, I think they should go for it.
Even if FCD was to lose to Colorado on Saturday, with a weakened lineup, there is still a good bit of soccer left to play. As a club, they have put themselves in a position where they have the wiggle room to afford a misstep or prioritize other where for one match. Trophies have always been the goal. Go after the one that is right there.
Lastly, I truly believe the average fan doesn’t really understand the importance of the Supporters Shield. In the American sports landscape, having the best regular season record doesn’t mean anything. How many times have we, DFW residents, seen the Mavericks, Stars, or even Cowboys crash out of the playoffs after finishing the regular season with the ‘1 seed’. With that mindset, a trophy that you win in a tournament format would hold more weight with the overall fanbase.
In a perfect scenario, none of this will matter and FCD will be able to go out and get two huge results in the next five days. It might not matter who FC Dallas rolls out, but if it does, which way do you go? I, for one, say go light on Saturday night and let’s go all in Tuesday. Even if FCD slips up Saturday night, there is time to make up for it. If the team slips up on Tuesday, it will be a total shock. Sadly, there is no right answer, but I want trophies, now.