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What we learned against the Portland Timbers: FC Dallas has an identity

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Don’t confuse this team for something it’s not.

MLS: FC Dallas at Portland Timbers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas scrapped for a point on the road against the Portland Timbers. Going into the game Dallas were 1-5-2 against Portland in Providence Park. A point on the road is never easy in MLS, and even harder in Portland. What does this result say about this FC Dallas team?

They have an identity

Managing expectations can be one of the hardest parts of being a sports fan. FCD’s fans have a reputation for being ungrateful and it’s because of expectations. They can spend more time expecting things, than they do appreciating things. They expect the front office to make flashy additions like other top teams. They expect Dallas to play an attractive style. They expect young homegrowns to be ready to contribute to them team as soon as they’re signed.

This focus one expectations draws attention away from what Dallas has accomplished.

While this draw wasn’t flashy or horribly exciting, it’s exactly what this team needed. Fans should stop expecting Dallas to be like other good teams in the league. It’s not in our DNA to dominate, it’s in our DNA to get results. And that’s what FC Dallas have done this season.

Just a year after a historic cold streak saw Dallas miss the playoffs, they’re in pole position to win the Western Conference. And that position comes as a result of games like this.

They don’t play like you want

I’ll admit, I’m part of the problem here. I want Dallas to play beautiful tiki-taka soccer with a clinical striker that scores 20 goals a season. I want a number 10 that reads the game like it’s in slow motion and can drop the ball on a foot anywhere in the final third. But instead we have Cristian Colman and Maxi Urruti.

Neither player looks impressive on the stat sheet, but they’re system players. Colman wins headers and makes runs that disrupt the defense and require attention. Urruti is a workhorse that has upped his defensive effort tenfold since being moved into a deeper role.

Don’t complain about these players because they aren’t what you expected. Appreciate them because they’re why Dallas are first in the Western Conference.

They’re going to the playoffs

With four games left, a team that has given Tesho Akindele 16 appearances this season has clinched playoff berth. It makes you think that maybe someone in Frisco knows what they’re doing. Or maybe I should take off my rose tinted glasses.

Regardless, if Dallas continue to show the grit they’ve shown in recent weeks, then they can very likely end up Western Conference champs. They have three winnable games and a big one at home against Sporting Kansas City. That game is going to show if they can really get a result and are in form for the playoffs. While I’m excited now, I’m worried that my burgeoning expectations as a fan could make for trouble later.


What makes this year’s team different than last year’s? Is Colman the answer at striker? Can Roland Lamah help Dallas in the playoffs? Who do you get want to get matched up against? Can Dallas get it done at home against SKC? Tell me what you think in the comments and as always thank you for reading.