In case you haven’t heard, FC Dallas is in Western Conference Finals in the MLS Cup Playoffs. If you’re not already, get excited.
Seeing as the bandwagon is starting to fill up, we want to give said bandwagoners some fodder for conversation. If you’re going to represent our team, we want you to know what you’re talking about.
We’ll give you some generic info about the club and who they are, but we’ll also give you a few tidbits that you can use to sound smart to all of your friends that hop onto the wagon late. So, consider this your “Idiot’s Guide to FC Dallas”. Here we go…
First things first, they play soccer. That’s where you kick the ball with your feet, always complain to the referees, and fall down when someone breathes on you wrong. Got it? Moving on…
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Coach: Oscar Pareja (aka “Papi”)
Founded in 1995
Play their games at Toyota Stadium in Frisco
Tidbit #1: We were known as the Dallas Burn from 1995-2004. FC Dallas wasn’t the official team name until the 2005 season.
Regular season record: 34-18-10 (1st in the West)
Finished second in MLS behind the New York Red Bulls
Tidbit #2: FCD was the best home team in MLS. No matter the result in leg one, make some comment about how we’ll take care of things in Frisco. It’s what we do.
In goal, Jesse Gonzalez has been the man of late between the sticks. He is 20 years old and has had a bit of a breakout end to the season. His two saves in last week’s penalty shootout against Seattle helped secure a massive win for FCD.
Tidbit #3: In the games that Gonzalez played, his 0.91 goals against average was the best in the league.
In defense, our two stalwarts are Zach Loyd and Matt Hedges, both of whom play center back. Je-Vaughn Watson and Ryan Hollingshead round out the back four at right and left back, respectively. Hedges is the undeniable leader of the pack, but all of them have stepped up recently to create a pretty stout defense.
Tidbit #4: Hollingshead has been a super versatile player for Oscar Pareja. Talk about Pareja’s ability to convert Hollingshead from a winger to a wingback and turn what was a weakness on this team into a strength. Also, talk about his man bun. Gotta love the man bun.
In the midfield, Kellyn Acosta, Victor Ulloa, and Ezequiel Cirigliano are the three men you want to focus on here. Acosta and Ulloa are both homegrown from the FC Dallas Youth Academy while Cirigliano is from River Plate in Argentina.
Tidbit #5: Ulloa and Acosta compliment each other really well. Ulloa likes to sit just in front of the back four and dictate play while Acosta is more of a box-to-box, make things happen kind of defender. Their development as super young, super talented players is a common theme that runs through this FC Dallas squad. Buzzword here is youth.
In the attacking half of the midfield, you run into some pretty formidable foes. We’ll focus on two key names here: Fabian Castillo and Mauro Diaz.
Castillo is fast. Really fast. Last year, he was like sugar in the raw. He was so sweet but sometimes just a bit too unrefined. This year, however, was a breakout year for the Colombian. Not only has he been called into his national team, he has been one of MLS’ most dangerous wingers.
He has combined his deadly pace with the correct decision making and has rightfully earned the attention of everyone in the league.
Tidbit #6: For two years in a row, Castillo has led the league in most successful dribbles. In soccer, a dribble is defined as controlling the ball and getting past an opponent. If you’ve never played soccer, just know that it’s a lot harder than Castillo makes it look.
Mauro Diaz is an orchestra conductor, a master puppeteer, a consummate number 10. He pulls all the strings and makes things happen. After a slow start to the season, Mauro has been phenomenal of late and has been a huge part of FC Dallas winning the West.
Keep in mind, folks. This is just an Idiot’s Guide to FC Dallas. This is not an Idiot’s Guide to soccer in general. So, if you plan to watch the game with friends, we suggest you look up the following rules/nuances of the beautiful game, especially if your soccer knowledge is limited at best:
The “Offside rule” (don’t say offsides. Don’t ever say offsides)
The “Away Goals rule”. This one comes into play when the score is tied.
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We hope this has served as a reference point for you to learn a bit more about a team that is rightfully gaining the credit it deserves. FC Dallas has been one of MLS’ best teams all season, and it’s about time the metroplex realizes it.