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What we learned against Sporting Kansas City: Yikes

A Stoic’s guide to FC Dallas fandom

MLS: Sporting KC at FC Dallas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a word I’ve found myself repeating more often than I’ve been comfortable with over the last few months: “yikes.” It’s become my own personal catchphrase. Almost dropped something? “Yikes.” Got caught doing something embarrassing in public? “Yikes.” Responding to a friend talking about how rough their next week is going to be? “Yikes.”

It’s come to mean something far beyond an exclamation of fear. It’s a lighthearted belief that things could be worse and they will get better. It’s a recognition that things are bad now, but in the grand scheme of things, our day to day problems are as silly and goofy as saying “yikes” regularly.

This game made me say yikes.

I believe that there are three criteria that need to be met for the use of “yikes” to be appropriate. There has to be a somewhat inconsequential situation, you have to make a mess of it, but the universe is still there and things are going to be alright.

The significance

We aren’t going to win the West. We held the title of first place for a good chunk of this season, but in the end, it isn’t going to mean anything. We could very well open the playoffs on the road. It hurts. It’s disappointing. But it isn’t that scary. It’s a “yikes” moment. If Dallas wins against Colorado they’ll tie the club record of 60 points and will roll into the playoffs with favorable seeding.

I know it’s hard to believe that after watching Dallas get dismantled you can read an article the next day that contains the phrases “club record points” and “playoffs.” But that’s still where Dallas are, this result hasn’t changed that. We all wanted Dallas to come out and beat SKC to convince us that they were a mentally tough enough team to compete for silverware, but they didn’t conform to our expectations about how a team that hopes to contend for the championship should play in big games.

In 2016 the Sounders finished 4th and won the Cup, 2015 the Timbers finished 3rd, 2014 the Galaxy 4th, 2013 SKC finished 2nd (in 2017 TFC won the Shield and the Cup, but that’s the outlier). Dallas can still compete, MLS playoffs are weird. Just because they let you down this week, don’t sour on them before they get a chance to go out and fight again.

The mess

That being said... this team has problems. Unless Dallas kill it with Colorado’s Super Draft pick, it’s starting to feel like we got fleeced in the Acosta trade. For a striker that was supposed to transform this team into a coherent attack, Dominique Badji has not been particularly good at striking, or much of anything. Barrios’ decision making hasn’t improved for three seasons, and I still have major hangups on giving Maxi consistent time as a 9.5. In addition to attacking problems, this team hasn’t done a good job of passing the eye or gut test, which, for all its lack of statistics, still means a lot in how teams and fans perceive you. This game was a chance to change the way teams perceived us, and Dallas didn’t do anything to convince the rest of the league that we were only top of the table because the rest of the conference couldn’t get it together.

Dallas screwed up (I’m sure there will be much stronger descriptions of the result in the comments). They played like crap and let us down. Other teams can play against them with confidence because Dallas doesn’t have anything going for them. They were supposedly one of the best defenses in the league, but they just let SKC march in and put three past them at home in a must win game. Their confidence is going to be shot and the path to any silverware is substantially harder now.

Things will be alright

I’m a bit of a stoic and I think my philosophy on “yikes” and FC Dallas reflect that. In this time of mourning for many fans, I want to leave you with a quote from Seneca that can perhaps offer a little bit of solace:

“To bear trials with a calm mind robs misfortune of its strength and burden.”

Keep that in mind and feel free to yet out a “yikes” and then let it go.