It took 400 minutes of scoreless soccer and several frustrating 1-0 losses, but FC Dallas finally shook their scoring demons on Wednesday night.
And on top of that, the 2010 MLS Cup finalists finally clinched a spot in the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs while retaining the Brimstone Cup for the 10th straight year in the process.
Jackson and Daniel Cruz scored on either side of halftime Wednesday night against the Chicago Fire, shutting the door on a recent slump in a convincing 2-1 victory.
WATCH: Full Match Highlights
“We had a really difficult month of September with all the traveling and the CONCACAF games and cards and injuries,” head coach Schellas Hyndman told reporters after the game. “And so for us to get the win here was huge because we know we’re in the playoffs and we can maybe start to focus on that.”
FC Dallas had several scoring chances early, including a near-miss from Jackson, and the first half unraveled in a manner similar to the previous four games.
“In those games, we created many chances, but the ball was not falling in for us,” the goal-scoring Cruz said in reflection of a winless September and early October. “You need some luck, but we knew that it was going to change and this game changed and hopefully we are – we’re through [to the playoffs] – and we are going to [have] a very good finish of the season. Everybody is very happy about this win.”
After a fruitless six weeks, Dallas on Wednesday night resembled the team that was the first to win 10 games in 2011.
“It was something we are extremely proud of,” said goalkeeper Kevin Hartman of the team’s return to the playoffs. “We have two games left and it’s a situation where we really want to go into the playoffs with the right confidence and playing the right kind of soccer. Hopefully there will be a little luck on our side and we’ll be able to win a championship in Los Angeles.”
With two games left in the regular season – both against already eliminated MLS sides – Hartman wants his team to gather steam and make a name for themselves in the postseason.
“We want to continue to fight and prove to all the doubters that don’t believe in us that we can be successful in the playoffs,” he said.
And if Wednesday night’s form can be replicated over the next month, success and a trip back to the MLS Cup final may be in store for the Dallas side.