CARSON, Calif. – After qualifying to MLS Cup for the first time in franchise history, FC Dallas sit on the cusp of becoming champions.
As the champagne flowed from the visiting locker room at The Home Depot Center, FCD captain Daniel Hernandez paused to reflect about his club’s comprehensive 3-0 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday night, one which sent them through to dispute the top prize in MLS against the Colorado Rapids. (Sun., Nov. 21, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, Galavision)
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“No disrespect to the Eastern Conference, but tonight was the championship,” said Hernandez. “By no means is it going to be easy in the finals because Colorado has had a great year. It’s going to be tough, but we’re prepared.”
FC Dallas drew both meetings against the Colorado Rapids this season. In their first match, the sides tied 1-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on July 31; in the second game, they tied 2-2 at Pizza Hut Park on Oct. 9.
Key to a Dallas victory in Toronto will be outpacing Colorado on the counterattack. Most importantly for FCD, however, will be containing the Rapids forward tandem of Omar Cummings and Conor Casey.
The pair did not have success against FCD during the regular season, with FCD holding the tandem scoreless during both meetings. But that doesn’t mean FCD will be overconfident heading into MLS Cup.
“They’re very dangerous attacking with Casey and Cummings and they are defending very well at the moment,” said midfielder Dax McCarty. “We’re going to be very confident after getting a great result against the Galaxy, but we’re under no illusions because it’s going to be a dogfight up in Toronto.”
Against the Galaxy, FCD troubled a midfield line that included Landon Donovan and David Beckham with intense pressure and physical play. To bring home the title, Dallas must do the same against Colorado.
At just one victory away from bringing the MLS Cup trophy to Frisco for the first time in the history of the Dallas Burn/FC Dallas franchise, head coach Schellas Hyndman is already looking ahead to the weather that will likely meet the club in Canada.
“[The Rapids] will probably be a little more acclimatized to that weather than us,” said the MLS Coach of the Year. “At the same time … these games only come so often in a person’s lifetime, so we’ll be at our best.
“If we’re good enough, we’re going to win the Cup. If it’s not good enough, we would’ve given our best.”
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