Holy crap they did it. Handily. Your 2019 FC Dallas team is in the playoffs. With a 6-0 thrashing of Sporting Kansas City (couldn’t have happened to a better team) FCD finished 7th in the Western Conference. They’ll take on Seattle at Century Link on October 19. Was this scoreline an aberration or something that can be carried into a playoff romp with the Sounders?
We can’t be sure
Six goals sure feels good. But how much of it was FCD putting together the pieces and how much was it SKC not having anything to play for? It’s hard to say. Dallas certainly passed the eye test and were consistently dangerous. They cut through SKC efficiently and a handful of players had fantastic games. That form can be replicated and carried throughout the playoffs. But scoring six goals on nine shots on target? Call me a pessimist, but the day that Dallas starts being able to do that consistently is the day they’ll win the North American Champions League. That’s an absurd clip and incredibly uncharacteristic of Dallas’ attack. However, the addition of the Cobra’s productivity, Dallas’ attack has new teeth. Ones that actually hurt when they bite instead of skying sitters at Lamar Hunt’s statue.
How much does it matter?
If you were unlucky enough to catch the SKC stream on ESPN+, you heard, first, the most dramatic music you’ll ever hear during a sports broadcast, and second, a discussion of what the last game of a season can do for a player’s stature within the team. While SKC was coming into that game from a fundamentally different place than Dallas, coaches still have to consider how much they’ll factor in their most recent impression of a player into their off-season decisions.
Had Cobra started the season hot and gone cold late, would he still be worth retaining? Either way he’s shown that he can score goals and is capable of contributing to the system, why, in one of these scenarios would you be more inclined to let him leave? That’s the question for me with Cobra and Santiago Mosquera. Both players have been immense in the last month of the season. Zdenek Ondrasek has put away chances that we haven’t seen a player do in years and Mosquera has looked a dominant creative force that can carry a team through the playoffs. Both of these players have seemingly fulfilled their destinies and hit their ceilings as FCD players, so should we forget all the mediocrity? Both are on large contracts, Cobra on TAM, and Mosquera as a DP. Do we explain away the months of bad form with injuries and not being acclimated to the team?
This is going to be a doozy of an off-season. But first, playoffs.
We’re coming, Seattle
Before we starting complaining about ownership and indulge in silly season rumors, we have games to play. The new playoff format of single elimination games throughout really helps spotty teams like FCD. While our atrocious away form is a problem, Dallas only has to put it together one game at a time. Luchi seems to be above a smash and grab, so it’ll be interesting to see how he comes out on Seattle’s turf (pun intended). But as we’ve seen this season, any mix of players can do it. Paxton Pomykal didn’t even feature in the Decision Day game. How strange would that have sounded six months ago?
This team has the talent and now the form to win a single game against Seattle. Or anyone for that matter. It’ll take some magic. The stars will have to align like they did against SKC, but I hold a glimmer of hope that FCD can cause some hell in the playoffs.
Fluke or the pronouncement of a new era of MLS characterized by Luchi Gonzalez’s FC Dallas winning four straight MLS Cups? How much stock do you put in the last game of the season? Do you like our odds against Seattle?