The Soap Box: FCD waiting for a breakout

Inferno supporter praises Avila, but longs for a striker

Blog DL

Photo Credit: 
Rick Yeatts/Major League Soccer

Doubters be damned, FC
Dallas finally have their first win of the season. Schellas Hyndman’s group was
one of the biggest mysteries in the league during the first month of the season,
and the club’s 1-0 win over Houston on Wednesday did little to solve the puzzle
if the Hoops are actually for real.

Dana Crane believes
they are. The head of the Inferno supporters group takes to the Soap Box this week
to talk all things Texas, including her team’s need for a striker, Eric Avilla’s
potential breakthrough and what the club’s doing right to brings fans into
Pizza Hut Park.

MLSsoccer.com: Has it
been a frustrating first few weeks of the season in Dallas?

DC: Honestly, we’ve
been calling it the “season of the crossbar” among the supporters group,
because it feels like we’ve hit the bar or the post at least 30 times this
season. But that being said, the team’s been playing some really entertaining
soccer, despite not getting the results that we expected. We’ve been dominating
on the field, and it’s so enjoying to watch them play that attacking style of
soccer. A lot of the teams in MLS are built around a defensive style, and it’s
been fun to watch them play this way.

MLSsoccer.com: Is
there one game that got away from you guys?

DC: The New York
game. To have lost that one, to not even get a point out of it, that was
disappointing. We had so many more shots on goal and so many near-misses, to
come out on the losing end of that one probably stung the most.

MLSsoccer.com: Half
of our editors think FCD are underrated. Agree?

DC: Probably. We
know we’re not getting the results, but we’re playing that attacking soccer and
they’re not giving up a lot. We’re just not getting the calls or the results we
would like, and we’re still one or two pieces away from being a real contender.
Still, you can’t ever really count us out. There’s a fire in the belly with
this team and there’s a chemistry on the field that can really be felt in the
stands. They have a” never day die” attitude, and because of that, I don’t
think you can look past them.

MLSsoccer.com: What’s
the one piece you need?

DC: We definitely
need something on the striker end of things. Because as great as Jeff
Cunningham is, he needs someone to push him and to work with him.

MLSsoccer.com: What
do you make of Cunningham this season?

DC: With
strikers, they get streaky. Like Edson Buddle out in LA, Jeff’s sort of like
him. He goes through this hot streak and then there’s a slump. When he got a PK
against Seattle, he took it with such conviction that I thought it might open
the floodgates for him, but we still need to see him get a run-of-play goal. I
think once he and the rest of the team starts hitting those shots that are
hitting the side of the net now, there’s going to be no stopping them.

MLSsoccer.com: Is
there one player people outside Dallas should know?

DC: Eric Avila.
He’s kind of been a super-sub for us, but we’re looking for him to get some
more minutes, because as soon as he steps on the field the dynamic changes.
That creative style he has adds another element to the attack game, and that
frees up David Ferreira and Dax McCarty to work off the ball and get some
better service inside. Of the young guys, Avila is probably the most fun to
watch.

MLSsoccer.com: What
do you make of the atmosphere at Pizza Hut Park?

DC: I moved out
here from Seattle about eight years ago, and started hanging out with the
Inferno in 2005. And getting used to the Dallas sports culture down here, this
is definitely a bandwagon town. And that even goes for the vaunted Dallas
Cowboys. Having the stadium located where it was initially was was really a
deterrent for some people, and I think that a lot of people who were deterred
back then haven’t made the effort to come to the new stadium. But there has been
a change in the front office; you can see they’re starting to embrace the
supporters’ culture and market the team towards us. For a while it felt like an
FC Disney thing, where they were always marketing to kids and families. This
year there’s a real effort to market the team to the 18-30 year-old male
demographic. I think now you’re seeing that the people who are there – even if
it’s only 8,000 people – are actually watching the game. In the past, we might
have had only 5,000 out of a crowd of 14,000 people watching the game. I think
it’s a big step in the right direction, but it’s going to take a while for this
new marketing tactic to pay off.

MLSsoccer.com: You
have D.C. United this week. Tell me why you’re going to win this one.

DC: Coming off
the win at Houston, I think we have a lot of momentum going. We’re trying to
build something up here, turning those ties into wins. All we can do it play
the cards that we’ve been playing, and hopefully those shots start going our
way.

MLSsoccer.com: The
end of the “season of the crossbar?”

DC: I hope so. It’s
only a matter of time.