FRISCO, Texas - History runs deep between MLS originals FC Dallas and Columbus Crew SC.
Aside from Saturday’s 45th all-time regular season meeting between the two franchises, both are forever linked by an iconic North American sports figure – Lamar Hunt. Both clubs represent Hunt’s vision for soccer in America – Crew SC with his initial investment and belief in the potential of Major League Soccer, and FC Dallas his vision for the growth of soccer in his hometown – a dream that dates back to his 1967 NASL venture.
Although the Hunt family sold their ownership of Columbus to Anthony Precourt in 2013, Uncle Lamar’s vision lives on in every match played at MAPFRE Stadium and Toyota Stadium, two of the first three soccer-specific stadiums built in the United States and both stadiums memorialize Hunt with 10-foot tall statues of the visionary.
“We have such great memories of owning the Crew and associating with the fans there and the city of Columbus,” FCD President Dan Hunt told FCDallas.com this week. “From an ownership standpoint, it’s a group that we’re very familiar with.”
But despite the good feelings off the field, there’s plenty of animosity between the two teams on it.
“Even though they’re an Eastern Conference team, there is still a little bit of bad blood between these two teams,” Hunt said. “It’s fun to play them.”
One of the most vivid meetings Hunt said he remembers wasn’t even a regular season matchup. On a snowy Saturday in 2010 during a preseason edition of the Pioneer Cup in Frisco, things got so intense on the field that four yellow cards and a straight red card were doled out in the final 20 minutes of a 2-1 Dallas win. Columbus defender Shaun Francis suffered a broken ankle during the match as well, and did not appear in the regular season for the Crew until mid-May.
“I always go back to that Pioneer Cup game,” Hunt said of the rivalry’s intensity. “Given the result we got last year being the first team to start five Homegrowns, and frankly they dominated possession in the game…They want to pay us back for that result we put on them in Columbus and so I know they’ll come fired up.”
With Dallas looking for a record-tying eighth straight win at home and the reigning Eastern Conference champion Crew SC in search of their first win, Saturday’s lone meeting of the season is sure to be yet another intense battle between the two storied franchises.