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A Culture of Falling Short

As an objective radio show host and writer I shouldn’t admit this but will: I felt physically ill late Sunday Afternoon after FC Dallas gave up a stoppage time goal to allow arch rival and perennial tormentor Houston to escape Robertson Stadium with a draw.  I didn’t want to talk about the game and I didn’t want to think about the game. In the history of MLS no team has made the playoffs as much as FC Dallas, but yet the Hoops are one of only three MLS’ teams in continues existence since 1998 to never make the MLS Cup final.

Names such as Leonel Alvarez, Jason Kreis, Ariel Graziani, Carlos Ruiz, Hugo Sanchez and Oscar Pareja have come and gone but one thing has remained consistent since 1996: The Dallas franchise in MLS has been good but not good enough. For years the Burn as they were then known played probably the most exciting soccer in the league. Under Dave Dir Dallas was always more watchable than much of a stale, slow summer league with poor quality squad players known as MLS. But Dallas could never get that extra something, that bump over the top despite having a succession of good foreign players and a better scouting network than anyone in MLS other than the league’s signature club itself, DC United. I always thought of the Burn as the club that would be the third giant club in the league between the two coastal giants, DC United, and the LA Galaxy, but instead Chicago, Kansas City and now Houston emerged as the best team in “Middle America.”

The Burn would try and fail every year in the playoffs. They’d be upset at home, or lose to lower seeded teams. They would suffer untimely injuries or simply collapse. Whatever it was, my thinking was dumping the bad karma from the Cotton Bowl, re-branding the team and moving to a true home stadium: Pizza Hut Park would change things.

Simply put, nothing has changed. Yet again the upstart team from Houston, a place which MLS as a league clearly saw as a second tier market in the state of Texas has since their relocation from San Jose inflicted a heavy psychological wound on FC Dallas. We saw it last year, where Hoops players consistently lost their composure against the Dynamo and eventually gave away a golden opportunity to exercise all their demons in the second leg of the playoffs last season. We saw it in Superliga where FC Dallas’ players were quick to the ground and quick to whine to the ref when something went wrong: the team wanted a trophy in any form even if it was a brand new event.

With FC Dallas yet again losing it late and worse yet to Houston, I ponder a serious question which I hesitate to even ask: Are the Hoops cursed?  Can FC Dallas, a franchise that in my humble opinion deserves a title and deserves the success as a trailblazer in this league ever get over the hump?

I encourage any and all Dallas fans to help us answer this. I have been bothered for several years now about the failures of your team and it is probably the the thing quite honestly (and I do try and remain objective but soccer is a passionate game and I will admit I have developed a soft spot for FC Dallas over many year though I do not consider myself a fan of any particular MLS club since my beloved Fusion were ripped out from under me) that has hurt me the most in MLS since the aforementioned Fusion disappeared.

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  1. bzygo

    April 10, 2008 at 8:54 am

    Dallas is only a four hour drive away, but their SGs were unable to muster enough people to make a charter bus worthwhile. There was a very tiny contingent of Hoops fans in the eastern corner of the south end. This is a Derby, can’t your fans do better then that? Maybe that’s why Dallas moved the Houston at Dallas game from a Saturday to a Wednesday, hoping to limit the number of traveling fans from Houston.

  2. Joe

    April 9, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    I too feel sorry for FC Dallas because they consistently fall just short, but a fine line exists between winners and losers and they are experts at losing when it matters most.

  3. ZZ 223

    April 9, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    Dallas fans? Anyone?

    Berlin, your point is well taken.

    Now that we have our team back in San Jose I’m all for the Dinamo again. Dallas is still the same losing team they were when we lost the Quakes! The more things change, the more, well you know the shabang.

  4. Berlin

    April 9, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    All the Dynamo fans I know are pure class and extremely grateful that the MLS deigned us a soccer worthy city despite a long history of soccer in Houston ( and massive crowds for the USMNT. We may be new to the league but our love of the game and our team runs just as deep as any city in the league. We may not win every year, but the club, city and supporters will do everything we can to make it happen. I think most people in Dallas don’t even know they have a soccer team. Exhibit one is the lack of Dallas comments on this blog. Forever Orange.

  5. J R

    April 9, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Dallas is joke. Perhaps they should have made the Oscar Parreja the manager instead of sticking with the outclassed Morrow.

  6. Crew 1996

    April 9, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    I too would love to see Dallas beat Houston. The Dynanmo fans are rude, obnoxious and act like they are entitled to have a great team simply because they happened to luck out and get a perfectly well supported team whose owner wanted to destroy the club to move the team to the 2nd best market in Texas. Wait until Dallas overtakes Houston and we’ll see how much tough talk we get from the Dynamo faithful then.

  7. Berlin

    April 9, 2008 at 11:00 am

    There was a league before 2006?!? I stand corrected. I guess you can win without fans but I can’t imagine it’s very fun.

  8. kartik

    April 8, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    Agreed Berlin on Dallas and their inability to play in hostile environments. About KC they won the MLS Cup in 2000 when they averaged less than 10,000 fans and made another MLS Cup in 2004 when they didn’t average 10,000 fans. But KC is different than Dallas. Typically their players except Eddie Johnson who had the taint of Dallas on him have had more playoff character than the Hoops/Burn players.

  9. Berlin

    April 8, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    1) I’m a day one season ticket holder for the Dynamo so the fact that you have a soft spot for Dallas makes my skin crawl.

    2) Dallas has committed the ultimate sin for a professional sports franchise, they have forgotten the fans.

    Dallas played in the Cotton Bowl, where no one wants to be caught after dark, a highschool stadium out in the middle of nowhere, and now in a city that’s not Dallas. If you had to pull out the key map to find your favorite club’s home field you probably wouldn’t be such avid supporter either. The fan support in Houston has had an unbelievable impact on the team. Dallas’ failure at Robinson has a great deal to do with the hostile environment they face there every game. The first game they played in Houston a section of the stadium was ejected for being too rowdy and last years MLS playoff drew 30k+. No fans = No Championship. I’ll eat my words if Kansas City wins an MLS cup with less than 10k fans showing for a game, but I think I’m safe.

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