As previously documented, the last month-plus for FC Dallas has been less than pleasant. The Hoops played five-straight league matches on the road, a club record, and all of which yielded a total of zero wins. They only returned to the DFW area for a U.S. Open Cup match against USL side Oklahoma City at TCU’s soccer stadium (which was a 4-1 win).
But Friday night saw a ton of relief wash over the team and their supporters.
In the first match in six weeks at Toyota Stadium, FC Dallas took it to the Houston Dynamo in the middle leg of the Texas Derby. The Hoops dominated the first half of the match, taking a 2-0 early lead thanks to Fabian Castillo. The first goal came off of an own goal that Castillo forced with a pretty good low cross in the box. The second goal came off of a great, creative one-two play between Castillo and Mauro Diaz, with Diaz springing Castillo for the score. And the FC Dallas defense showed up once again, allowing just three shots on goal and recording the team’s fifth clean sheet of the season.
And now the most important thing the FC Dallas can do is to keep this momentum rolling in another home match against New England Saturday.
Despite the fact that the Hoops failed to win a match during that long road trip and fell from the top of the conference table to just hanging on to a postseason spot, they’re still very much in the race to take the conference. They sit just six points behind Vancouver with a game in hand and are three points behind second-place Seattle, also with a game in hand. So the dangling carrot of leading and winning the conference is still very much in play.
And there’s no denying that FC Dallas picked up a huge momentum boost with a win over the rival Dynamo. There was little doubt who was the better team Friday night, which is the first time in a while that the Hoops can say that they dominated a league match. A number of key players looked a whole lot better in the match too. Castillo finally found his way back to the scoring sheet and Diaz finally made a big impact on the field, something everyone’s been waiting for since he got off to a hot start to the season.
And finally, New England is a team that FC Dallas should easily dispatch, especially at home. The Revolution come into this weekend on a three-match losing streak and having just won one match, which came against lowly Chicago, in their last 10 matches, with a poor showing in the U.S. Open Cup to boot.
So this weekend is a really important weekend for FC Dallas. Win this and keep the momentum while possibly making up ground in the Western Conference; lose this and that momentum goes away before a bit of a tough stretch in the next three matches. It’s not a must win, but beating New England is about as close to a must as FC Dallas can get.