With each New Year comes a renewal of hope, both in our personal lives and in our goals for our favorite sports teams. Maybe this is the year that the Cowboys finish above 8-8 (it happened, miraculously). Maybe the Rangers will finally win a World Series (get some pitching and then we’ll talk).
In honor of the season of unfulfilled promises and wishful thinking, here are FC Dallas’ New Year’s resolutions and how they will help the team succeed in 2015, should they stick with them.
Number One: Stay Healthy
This sounds like everyone’s goal come January 1st. But for FCD, this will be crucial throughout the season. Key injuries to players like Mauro Diaz along with niggling injuries to other important players held the team back from reaching its fullest potential in 2014.
It was never time to hit the panic button, and there was certainly never an injury crisis. But a small knock here and there can derail a team’s precious momentum. Soccer, after all, is all about consistency. If FCD can keep a consistent rotation in their starting 11, momentum will come and so, too, will the points.
Number Two: Take Care of Business On the Road
2014 was an incredible year for FC Dallas at home. At 12-1-4, their home record was among the tops in the league. On the other hand, 4-5-8 on the road was not a spectacular return.
Very frequently, FCD would go into their opponent’s stadium and let the other team dictate the style of play. Anyone who knows anything about soccer knows that it is so important to play to your style. Whether that involves flowing attacking play or defensive/counterattacking play is no matter. You have to play your style.
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If FCD wants a better return on their travels in 2015, they’ll have to stick with their style and not allow their opponents to control the game on the road.
Number Three: Rely On Your Veterans
FC Dallas is a very, very young squad. In fact, they are one of the youngest teams in all of MLS. Couple that with a strong corps of returning veterans and you have yourself a promising lineup.
In order for young talents like Mauro Diaz, Tesho Akindele, and Fabian Castillo to continue to mature, they have to have solid players around them. You can be dazzled by their individual brilliance all day long, but the team results will only come when they have a strong group of guys working hard around them.
Players like Blas Perez and Dan Kennedy will have to step up and be leaders on this team. That is not to say that they haven’t already. Kennedy will be in his first year with FCD but already has extensive MLS experience. And as for Perez, he has already shown what he can produce on the pitch. When you aren’t a fast center forward, you have to be creative and spirited, both of which Blas has in abundance.
Number Four: Trust Your Coach
Oscar Pareja earned his place as FC Dallas coach last season. Your first year as a manager can often be the most telling, regardless of the team’s record. Pareja’s first year, both in the record books and on the pitch, was a success. The team looked more together, more unified, and more resilient under Pareja than they have in recent past. It’s a huge testament to Pareja’s skills as a manager.
He’ll have a full offseason and a host of returning talent around which to build his 2015 squad. Considering what he did in 2014, let’s trust the man to get us back to the playoffs and beyond in 2015.
There you have it, four resolutions that will make FC Dallas a better team in 2015. Maybe these will last longer than your diet, your gym membership, and your financial planning. I’m hoping so!