Are you still recovering from last night’s heart-pounding FC Dallas win, or is it just me?
Last night’s scene in Frisco for the second leg of the Western Conference Semifinals could not have been more exciting. Fans from all over the metroplex (and, to be fair, all over the country) converged on Toyota Stadium and strapped into their seats for a wild one Sunday night.
The crowd was enormous by FC Dallas standards. The lines heading into the south gates snaked out onto the Main Street sidewalk. One thing that you can say about Dallas sports fans is that when one of our teams gets to the playoffs, we show up and we show up big.
It was admittedly funny to hear some of the banter from the people walking in. Many had proficient soccer knowledge. Others thought they had proficient soccer knowledge, evidenced by the fact that I did have to tell one guy standing behind me that there was a 0% chance that his high school’s team could beat the US Women’s National Team.
But people showed up, and that’s the only thing that matters.
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Who cares if you have to explain how the away goals rule works or how to adjudge someone who is offside…or the fact that the PA announcer had to come over the loudspeaker to tell people not to leave after regulation ended 2-1.
Again, who cares? The fact that so many people in Dallas, Texas came to watch their local soccer team in a playoff match is a testament to the growing impact the sport is beginning to have in our local scene and across the United States.
Thankfully, the team did not disappoint, pulling off a win in what could go down as one of the craziest, most exciting MLS Cup Playoff games ever.
After a 2-1 loss in Seattle, FC Dallas needed one of two things: either a 2 goal win, or a win 1-0 win to assure progression. For this reason, when Tesho Akindele scored the game’s opening goal in the 84th minute, Toyota Stadium erupted in excitement.
A goalless draw would have seen Seattle advance. A 1-0 win for FC Dallas would have seen the good guys advance. Advantage in the 84th minute: FCD.
Then cometh the 90th minute and an equalizing goal from Seattle. A 1-1 draw would have seen Seattle advance on aggregate 3-2. Advantage in the 90th minute: Seattle. (At this point, choice words were said/thought/screamed/muttered)
However, enter Walker “Texas” Zimmerman. No more than 60 seconds after Seattle ripped our hearts out, Zimmerman redirected Blas Perez’s pass into the back of the net for the all-important aggregate equalizer. Tied 3-3. We’re going to extra time in Frisco. Heck yes!
Very rarely do you see extra time decide a winner of a game. More often than not, both teams are a bit too defensive, not wanting to give the game away, and end up playing out the two 15-minute periods to a goalless draw. Columbus’ win over Montreal is a glaring exception to this, but, that is what usually happens.
Even though FCD didn’t exactly fit that mold, throwing everyone forward in an attempt to win it outright in extra time, the extra period still ended in a goalless draw. Penalties were going to decide this game, and they were going to be kicked right in front of the raucous fans in the Beer Garden.
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You couldn’t have scripted a better ending. First, Jesse Gonzalez, who I was admittedly upset with after his failure to get to Seattle’s corner led to the equalizer, steps up and makes two massive, massive saves. The 20 year-old can’t even drink a beer with the people standing behind him and he’s making huge saves in the most important game of his life.
Then, as if FC Dallas needed another player to step up and epitomize the work ethic and youthful talent of this team, Walker Zimmerman buried the decisive penalty with a cold-blooded strike.
The pandemonium that was last night’s game is a perfect testament to the resolve and commitment this team shows under it’s fearless leader, Oscar Pareja. His reaction to last night’s game: “It was a magical night in Frisco.” We couldn’t agree more.