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What we learned in the 4-3 loss to the Seattle Sounders

A celebration of the three players last night made me love the most.

MLS: MLS Cup Playoffs-Round One-FC Dallas at Seattle Sounders FC Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

I got one takeaway this week: I’m an FC Dallas fan.

I’ve never been prouder of this team than I was watching them battle against the evil forces that are manifest in the Seattle Sounders. What good would singling a player out for the loss do? Every player fought like hell and the result was the best game you’ve ever seen in your life. Dallas slipped into the playoffs then took the second seed into extra time. This season was a success.

I truly could rave about the heart every player showed this game, but I’m going to narrow it down to the three that left the biggest impression on me. We can flesh out our feelings on the rest of the squad in the long soccer-less months ahead of us.

Bryan Acosta

War and sports analogies are stupid. But if they weren’t, I would reckon that playoff games are duels between designated players. Both sides send their best three out and they are responsible for the fate of their team. Not to short-sell the importance of team effort, but we saw what a difference Nicolas Lodiero and Raul Ruidiaz make. In games like these, designated players rise above the others on the field and singularly sway the game. In years past, no one has stepped up for Dallas. But Bryan Acosta’s performance made it clear that the team has someone that can fill that vacuum.

He was omnipresent, dynamic, and frustratingly persistent. He’s a DP without the superstar nonchalance. He embodies FC Dallas’ values and leads by example. If Dallas aren’t going to bring in a big name, hitting on their DP acquisitions with guys like Acosta is the next best thing.

Jesse Gonzalez

Don’t ever listen to the haters, Jesse. You’re a future USMNT #1 and I hope you stay between our sticks forever. Talk crap, time waste, get in people’s faces—it only makes me love you more.

Dallas are no longer a fun Cinderella story for the rest of the league. This season, the homegrown “gimmick” was cute, but if Dallas retain Paxton Pomykal and Reggie Cannon, this team has a core that can carry them to the playoffs every year. And the pipeline of talent isn’t drying up. Ricardo Pepi, Ronaldo Damus, Dante Sealy, and Thomas Roberts are all waiting in the wings; seven out of twenty of the recent US U15 players were Dallas kids. People hate Jesse Gonzalez cause they’re scared of what FC Dallas is going to be.

Reginald Jacob Cannon

A couple years ago I popped into FC Dallas practice a few times and did a pair of interviews. It was nerve-racking waiting in the locker room tunnel for whichever player I was looking for to come through. I got subtle nods from a few that were probably thankful that they weren’t my mark. Then Reggie walked in, came straight up to me, shook my hand, and said, “Hi, I’m Reggie Cannon.”

What more can you say about the guy? The pre-game interview showed exactly where his head was at. He showed up and battled from an unfamiliar wing position. Not only did he score Dallas’ first goal but made crucial blocks and tackles for 120 minutes.

Rumor has it that the front office isn’t as willing to splurge on a fullback as they were for Pomykal. I dearly hope it isn’t true. It would be an injustice to Cannon’s exemplary leadership for all the homegrowns after him if he isn’t rewarded.

Dallas will be a stronger team if they establish themselves as a pipeline to Europe, but if that means losing guys like Reg, then it isn’t going to be without some melancholy.

Did Acosta give a DP-level performance? Is Jesse your boy too? Could you really stomach losing Cannon? Let me know in the comments and thanks for your support this season!