MLS Regular Season
We're nearing Saturday's big game at Toyota Stadium against Seattle Sounders FC and we break down what FCD needs to do to stay undefeated in this week's Toyota Keys to the Match:
There's just 63 days left until the 2014 FIFA World Cup and ESPN just won all our hearts with this USMNT commercial.
By Mohammad Bushnaq
FC Dallas retained "El Capitan" with a crushing 4-1 victory over the Orange in Houston. After an action-packed back and forth first half, FC Dallas pounced on an ejection to Dynamo CB David Horst in the 60th minute to score three goals in ten minutes and seize the match with force from their rivals. With the Texas Derby win, FC Dallas has sole possession of the top of the table. Do the league writers all agree that this team is the concensus number one team in MLS right now?
MLSSoccer.com writers are way ahead of the curve. They had FC Dallas in 1st place of their rankings after the Chivas USA victory and have not looked back since. The league website editors cite this team's danger on set-pieces as a game-changer that could win matches even if the team is not having a great game.
COMMENT: Even if they're not playing well, they're always so dangerous on set pieces that they can just bury you. It was even through an hour this weekend, then Houston gave 'em an inch. And then it was over.
ESPNFC.com finally joined the party, elevating FC Dallas to the top spot in their rankings (3rd last week) while marveling at Je-Vaughn Watson's performance for the Hoops on Saturday. To Jeff Carlisle, this FC Dallas team is thriving because of Hendry Thomas in the center of the park.
COMMENT: Je-Vaughn Watson stuck it to his old team and then some, scoring twice and forcing an own goal in a 4-1 win over Houston. On the defensive side of things, Hendry Thomas was solid again in midfield, and it's clear his trade to the club was a steal.
Goal.com's Ives Galarcep also has the Hoops atop his latest power rankings. Ives believes FC Dallas will have their biggest test yet when they face the Seattle Sounders this weekend.
COMMENT: Oscar Pareja's side took full advantage of a second-half red card draw by Houston, ripping the Dynamo apart after David Horst's sending off. Je-Vaughn Watson did the most damage, punishing his former club to the tune of two goals. FCD's hold on first place in the West will be tested by the Seattle Sounders on Saturday.
Sports Illustrated's Planet Futbol are the only major media outlet that do not have FC Dallas at the top of their rankings. Planet Futbol says that FC Dallas was struggling before the red card changed the match.
COMMENT: Until David Horst’s red card for the Dynamo, FC Dallas was on the ropes. It opened the scoring against the run of play, benefitting from a Ricardo Salazar call on the penalty, and Chris Seitz made a couple big saves until Horst was sent off. Dallas took advantage, scoring on a set piece and a counterattack to win big, but without that red card, the story may have been different.
I'm sure many of you remember our Raul Fernandez H&R Block promotion from earlier in the season in which fans would have a chance to win a trip for four to Houston to watch the Texas Derby and meet Raul Fernandez. FC Dallas fan Rob Goldblatt won the honor and on Saturday night, he and his family took in the dominating 4-1 win over our rivals to the south. Here's what Rob had to say about the experience:
It was a great time in Houston as my wife, two sons and I enjoyed watching FC Dallas take it to the Dynamo 4-1 last Saturday. We were met by [Partnership Marketing Coordinator] Annika with FC Dallas and escorted to the field where we watched the team go through their pregame warmup.We also got to meet Fernando Clavijo on the sideline before the game. This was our first FCD away game and we were very excited to be part of the crowd.The atmosphere was buzzing as the crowd was looking forward to a Dynamo victory.
We were a smattering of red in a sea of orange at their stadium so we obviously stood out in the sellout crowd. We got all kinds of looks - surprise,hate even laughter - as we made our way to our seats as the kick off was ready to take place. The Dynamo fans around us were very vocal but still mostly friendly as the first half ended 1-1.
In the second half, the four of us kept jumping out of our seats as we scored goal after goal after goal! If no one thought there were any FCD fans at the game before, they certainly knew we were there then. Needless to say, the Dynamo supporters were deathly silent. It was great day to be an FC Dallas supporter!
By Mohammad Bushnaq
Top of the table FC Dallas will have their hands full when USMNT veteran Clint Dempsey and his Seattle Sounders visit Frisco this weekend for a meeting between the two Western Conference powerhouses. FC Dallas and Seattle played three matches last year. FC Dallas won the final meeting of the season 2-0 at home having lost the first two matches of 2013 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle by a combined score of 7-2.
WATCH: SSFC 4, FCD 2
Game 1 - May 18th, 2013 - Seattle Sounders FC 4 FC Dallas 2: Top of the table FC Dallas took a trip to the Pacific Northwest trying to extend their nine-game unbeaten streak to ten games. Former FC Dallas man Eddie Johnson opened the scoring, taking advantage of rookie London Woodberry and hitting a half volley past Raul Fernandez. Lamar Neagle doubled Seattle's advantage on a breakaway in the 30th minute after dribbling around Raul Fernandez and calmly slotting the ball home.
After the half, Michel led the charge for the Hoops. First, the Brazilian sent a perfect cross in to Kenny Cooper to give FCD their first goal on the evening. The best set-piece taker in the league was not done with that contribution. Seven minutes after the Cooper goal, Michel sent in a corner kick that was untouched by Gspurning and nestled itself in the side netting. The rare "Olimpico" had FC Dallas back in with a shout, but it was short-lived. EJ struck immediately after the restart putting Seattle back on top for good. Blas Perez was ejected in the 72nd minute for a high elbow and Obafemi Martins put any doubts to bed with an 83rd minute finish. FC Dallas' unbeaten run was over, losing 4-2.
WATCH: SSFC 3, FCD 0
Game 2 - August 3rd, 2013 - Seattle Sounders FC 3 FC Dallas 0: Contrary to the first meeting of the season when FC Dallas was riding in on a nine-game unbeaten streak, the return to CenturyLink Field in the summer was one to try to end a winless streak. Having not won in their last eight matches, FC Dallas had their work cut out for them just knowing they had to travel to one of the loudest stadiums in North America. Another wrinkle that gave Seattle the confidence to come out swinging in this match was the formal introduction of USMNT start, Clint Dempsey.
Seattle rode that wave of optimism from the crowd to a strong start. The capacity crowd was treated to a beautiful glancing header by Obafemi Martins in the 9th minute to give the hosts a dream start. EJ scored his first goal since the last time these two teams met in May, finishing a powerful effort past Fernandez. Brad Evans capped the the final score line at three with a penalty kick after a bleached David Ferreira brought Lamar Neagle down in the box. Seattle, despite a strong Mauro Diaz showing in the second half, took the second of two matches at CenturyLink 3-0.
WATCH: FCD 2, SSFC 0
Game 3 - October 19th, 2013 - FC Dallas 2 Seattle Sounders 0: The final home game of the 2013 season (and the Schellas Hyndman Era) was a victory for FC Dallas. While the first half was frantic, it ended scoreless. 20 minutes in to the 2nd half, Matt Hedges headed home a Michel corner kick to send 15,017 fans into a frenzy. Michel, having already gathered an assist in the game, found himself on the end of a fortuitous bounce to double the FCD lead. David Ferreira had his shot deflected and it fell to Michel who calmly slotted the ball home in the 87th minute to ensure FC Dallas was leaving Toyota Stadium that night with three points for one last time in front of their fans in 2013.
SEGMENT 1: The United States' wild 2-2 draw with Mexico -- and Clint Dempsey's hat trick for Seattle in an even wilder 4-4 draw in Portland in the season's first Cascadia Derby -- dominate the early discussion.
SEGMENT 2: Fox Sports host extraordinaire Rob Stone returns to the show to talk Champions League and U.S. national team matters with the guys.
SEGMENT 3: ESPN's Eric Wynalda, fresh off his stint in Phoenix calling the USA-Mexico game alongside Ian Darke and Alejandro Moreno, joins the boys to give his verdict on Julian Green, Jurgen Klinsmann's bigger concern -- think defense as opposed to the forward line -- and everything else topical from the week's big friendly match.
SEGMENT 4: FC Dallas is unbeaten after five games for the first time in franchise history. So Steve breaks it all down for Stein from his vantage point as the team's new radio voice.
Multimedia Manager Aaron Griffin with another one of his fantastic recap videos, this one is titled Texas Derby Supremacy:
Our brand new ShopFCDallas.com Scarf of the Month program has been an overwhelming success with quick sellouts of both March and April's editions.
However, after Saturday's historic win in Houston, we knew we'd have to create a second run of our popular "Come and Take It" scarf, but with a little twist.
Pre-order your "FC Dallas 4, Houston Dynamo 1 "Come and Take It" April Scarf of the Month today! Since the scarves are being special ordered, it will be at least six weeks before they arrive in Frisco and this one-time VERY limited edition order will not be made again. Our first run sold out in less than 24 hours so don't waste any time in pre-ordering yours today because when they're gone, they're gone.
April's exclusive scarf is a nod to Texas history and the Texas Derby (presented by Novo Nordisk).One side of the scarf features the "Come and Take It" slogan that was used during the Texas Revolution of 1835 and is used today to dare the Dynamo to try and reclaim El Capitan which comes together when the scarf is draped around the neck of an FC Dallas fan. On the other side is the "FC Dallas 4 Houston Dynamo 1" scoreline from Saturday's game.
PLEASE NOTE: This is a pre-sale and scarves will not be available for in-store pickup/shipping for six-eight weeks.
Chris Seitz has been nominated for MLS Save of the Week for his 82nd minute penalty kick save on Oscar Boniek Garcia.
Seitz's save was the cherry on top of the 4-1 Texas Derby win and Chris has been huge for FC Dallas all year. Seitz is now 10-3-3 in MLS/USOC dating back to the start of 2013 with a very respectable 1.25 goals against average.
Show your love for his early-season form and vote Seitzy for Save of the Week!
WATCH: SOTW Week 5
It's no secret that the Houston Dynamo dominated the early years of the Texas Derby with a team that won MLS Cup in both 2006 and 2007, but Saturday's emphatic 4-1 FC Dallas win was the exclamation point on tides within the state that have been shifting in recent years. Here are a few interesting stats behind FCD's win on Saturday night:
- Saturday's 4-1 FC Dallas victory was the largest for FCD in the regular season Texas Derby history(Houston defeated FCD by three goals in 2007) while the four goals scored is the most FCD has put past the Dynamo in a match.
- Saturday was the first time FCD has beaten Houston in back-to-back games in MLS play.
- The 4-1 win was FCD's first at BBVA Compass Stadium and marked the first time a Western Conference team has won at the Houston stadium.
- FC Dallas is 5-2-2 against their Texas rivals in MLS/USOC since 2009.
- Je-Vaughn Watson became the fourth player in series history to score twice in one Texas Derby game along with Kenny Cooper, Dwayne De Rosario and Cam Weaver.
- Mauro Diaz became the first FC Dallas player to score two assists in one Texas Derby match. Only Brad Davis has achieved the same feat for Houston.