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FC Dallas vs Chicago Fire: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

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FC Dallas didn’t sink to their opponent’s level on Saturday.

MLS: Chicago Fire at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Another steamy night at Toyota Stadium and the unbeaten home streak is alive and well with a 3-1 victory for FC Dallas. Dallas has now gone 15 games in a row without a loss and look to have gotten back to making Toyota Stadium a fortress again. Chicago played a second string squad against Dallas and were outclassed for the majority of the night. Dallas did what good teams are suppose to do and didn’t drop points against a weaker squad. Everything is looking good as we start to look forward to the end of the ‘dogs days of summer here in Frisco.

The Good

The matches have been coming fast and often since the beginning of June and FC Dallas has had to rely on it’s depth to keep their heads above water. During that time, they have played nine matches (7 MLS matches) and went 6-0-3 (5-0-2 in MLS games.) That’s over two points a game for the MLS matches and it wasn’t against easy competition. Out of the seven MLS matches played, five of them were against current teams holding playoff spots, which is very impressive. The most staggering thing about the recent run of form though is that FC Dallas has used 23 different players during those games. They used seven Homegrown players and six draft picks (one is re-intry draft - Maxi).

Oscar finally has a deep roster and has been able to use it to perfection. The squad wouldn’t be labeled as flashy at this point, but it hasn’t matter at all. Dallas has found ways to win matches and continue to do it consistently. When bench players have been called on, they have played well and have to be given a lot of the credit for FC Dallas being at the top of the West right now.

Saturday night, Dallas played six homegrown players and were able to come away from the match with a comfortable win. Think about that. Usually in MLS, when teams throw out quite a few homegrown players, they aren’t too interested in winning the game. For FC Dallas though, it’s just who they have become. They got a lead with three HGPs in the match and then brought three more in off the bench. Just to reiterate, this isn’t normal for the rest of MLS. FC Dallas is uniquely positioned to maintain what they have become, because of that academy pipeline. We are all very lucky to get to witness it.

The Bad

Chicago suited up a very average (bad) team Saturday night and were easily handled by FC Dallas. Going into the match, we all expected Dallas to handle their business, but as we saw last year, that isn’t always the case. In the second half of the season in 2017, Dallas was consistently dropping points to bad teams. They couldn’t get wins against Colorado, San Jose, Minnesota and even Houston. Because of that, they missed the playoffs. It feels like they have learned their lesson this year and are doing what each game calls for individually to insure they walk away with points.

The regular MLS season is a grind. Usually the formula to get into the playoffs is average two points a game at home and one point on the road over the course of the season. If you do that, you will finish the season with 51 points and that should be enough to get you into the playoffs. Down the stretch last year, Dallas wasn’t able to keep up that pace. This year however, Dallas has averaged 1.85 ppg on the road and 2.27 ppg at home. They are currently on pace for the best record in franchise history with 68 points. I doubt they get that high, but it does show you that they have figured out how to pick up points on a week to week basis.

The Ugly

We are officially at the worst time of the year to go out to soccer games. It is sooo hot at 7pm in the middle of July. Props to everyone who has been staying faithful and making it out to the matches, especially you on the east side of the stadium. People might complain about the attendance numbers, but those east side fans are some of the most diehard in the all of MLS. Sure Atlanta has like 70k fans come out to their games, but that’s inside a closed stadium with the a/c on. Let’s see what those numbers would be if the temp was over 100 degrees. Props to all the fans that have been going out to support the club these past couple of weeks. Y’all are the true ones.

Rivalry week has finally arrived in Texas as FC Dallas travels to Houston this weekend for the first of three games against our neighbors to the south. Houston has been pretty good at home this year (and absolutely terrible on the road) so it should be a pretty good game. Last year, the two squads tied all three matchups, even though Dallas outplayed them for the majority of the minutes. Hopefully Dallas is able to keep the good times rolling and come back with another three points.