If you’re a big believer in momentum, you have to feel pretty good about FC Dallas’ chances heading into the MLS Cup Playoffs as the number one seed.
We knew heading into this weekend that FC Dallas had already clinched the top spot in what turned out to be a hotly contested Western Conference. However, there was still much to play for on what became affectionately known as Decision Day in the MLS on Sunday.
With a number of playoff positions still up for grabs and a thousand or more different permutations possible, Sunday was poised for drama. And it didn’t disappoint.
Not only did we have the back and forth, “you’re in, you’re out” theater as the night went on, we also had a good ol’ fashioned duel for first place in MLS on the line, a duel that featured our guys against the Eastern Conference leading New York Red Bulls.
While the other scenarios for teams across the league were complicated, the battle for the Supporters’ Shield came down to this: If New York could match our result, the trophy was theirs. If we could better their result, the trophy was ours.
The matchups couldn’t have been any more different. For New York, they were battling the worst team in all of MLS, on the road, in a game that didn’t mean much to the Chicago Fire. Essentially, it was the ideal matchup for New York, except for maybe being on the road.
FC Dallas, on the other hand, hosted the San Jose Earthquakes in a game that meant everything to San Jose. It was win (and get some help from others in the West) or go home for the Earthquakes. As a result, they came out of the gates quickly, scoring inside the first 15 minutes. If not for the heroics of Jesse Gonzalez between the sticks, it could have been worse.
For most of the night, as battles were waged across the Western Conference, there wasn’t much excitement to speak of in Frisco. Even when we equalized through Mauro Diaz in the 38th minute, New York was still up 2-0 on Chicago. Things weren’t exactly looking up.
We did, however, get our heart rates up in the second half when, after a red card for San Jose, we found the go-ahead goal through none other than Victor Ulloa, arguably FC Dallas’ standout player this season. At around the same time, Chicago pulled one back on New York. Hope!
It made for an exciting last 25 minutes as TXA 21 announcers pulled off the incredible task of watching two games at once. A break in the action meant an update on the New York game. You waited with bated breath after hearing of a Chicago corner. The focus was hardly on the match at hand.
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Alas, the Supporters’ Shield wasn’t in the cards last night as Chicago, as was often the case throughout the season, was unable to come away with a point. New York won the Supporters’ Shield. Boohoo. I’m over it.
Nevertheless, what’s hidden in the disappointment of losing the Shield is the fact that FCD came back from a goal down to beat a very good Western Conference team. Also, FCD is unbeaten in their last four and riding an impressive wave of momentum into the playoffs. Also, we get a bye in the first round. Also, we play the second leg at home.
Oh, and we’re the number one seed in the Western Conference. Yeah, that’s kind of a big deal.
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