In honor of the holiday season, here’s a little Christmas cheer brought to you in the style of FC Dallas. It’s a wish list every FCD fan has this offseason that they didn’t even know they had.
12 fewer losses
This may be a bit of a stretch right out of the gate (good start, right?). Dallas lost 12 games last season. 12 fewer losses equal an undefeated season. Sounds like a good way to start my Christmas list.
11 goals from Blas
In each of the past two seasons, Blas Perez has scored 11 goals for FCD. He has always been the direct, attacking-minded player that Dallas has needed. With creativity and speed around him, Blas fits the mold of the classic striker: big, physical, and always looking for the back of the net.
10 years for Hedges
Again, if this is my Christmas list, I’m wishing for FC Dallas to sign Matt Hedges to the longest MLS deal in the history of MLS deals. Hedges is proving, solid year after solid year, that he deserves to be a mainstay in the FC Dallas backline. 10 years would be enough for me.
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9 more games for Diaz
Last season, because of a lengthy time out due to injury, Mauro Diaz only started 9 games the entire season. For a player with as much talent as Diaz has, 9 games is not enough. The little firecracker, if he can stay healthy, should be starting and playing in many more games next season. He is so often the motor oil to the FC Dallas offensive engine. Speaking of, can I also ask Santa for an oil change? Can he do that?
8 set piece goals
In 2014, FC Dallas scored eight goals from set pieces. If that’s not a testament to the tenacity of the team and the scheming of Oscar Pareja, I don’t know what is. With Michel often deadly with his deliveries and height from key players, FCD was the most dangerous set piece team in all of MLS. I’m wishing for the same in 2015.
7-pass goal buildups
Okay, this one might be a stretch as well, but I want more team play in 2015. I’m tired of watching countless runs down the wing get halted because we can’t beat the 6th man that tries to steal the ball. Beating the first five is great, but it means nothing if there is no end result! Let’s pass the ball around more. Why not at least seven times before we try a spectacular run? The number seven, after all, does represent completion (look it up).
6 more clean sheets
In the regular season, FCD had six clean sheets. That’s not quite enough for a team that wants to challenge for the MLS Cup. Very frequently, Dallas put themselves in a position where they had to score too many goals. With Dan Kennedy between the sticks and a solid backline returning in 2015, 12 clean sheets would be beautiful (a guy can dream).
5 Texas Derby Wins
We may not have won the MLS Cup or finished first in the Western Conference, but by golly we beat Houston twice! Dating back to 2013, that’s four wins in a row against the Dynamo. If ever you needed more fodder for the debate about why Dallas is better than Houston (not in soccer, just in general), here’s a bit more. DTID!
4 more game winning goals
When the game was on the line last season, Fabian Castillo was there. With 4 game winning goals in 2014, Castillo led the team in the clutch category. I want that, plus I want a better shot-to-goal conversion percentage for Castillo. He took nearly twenty more shots than any other FCD player, but was only second in goals scored.
3 brand new jerseys
This is more of a personal wish than an FCD commentary. Santa, take note. I’d love some new jerseys, and I’d settle for just three. Medium, please.
2 years of Oscar
Pareja’s first year in charge of FCD was largely successful. The team seemed much more united than it did in year’s past. There was no collapse, no capitulation. The team bought into his schemes and delivered a pretty solid performance. I’m excited to see what Pareja does with a full offseason and a second year with the team.
AND FIRST PLACE IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE
This might seem like a pipedream, but you wouldn’t be laughed out of the building for suggesting this could happen. Seattle and LA will be strong again, but don’t expect Dallas to stay where they are. This team has proven that we have much to be thankful for this soccer-Christmas season, and Santa might deliver an exceptional season for FCD….and, of course, jerseys for me (I didn’t forget, Santa).
Merry Christmas, y’all!