Time To Be a Soccer Fan
It’s been a frustrating six months for North Texas sports fans. Mediocrity has been the name of the game regardless of the size or shape of the ball.
The Texas Rangers stumbled into the postseason in October only to fall out just as awkwardly. The Dallas Cowboys saw another year of preseason overhype that resulted in an 8-8 record, and the team missed the playoffs for a third consecutive season.
And the Dallas Mavericks just wrapped up a woeful campaign at 41-41; getting to .500 ended up being the ultimate goal of the season. The team will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2001 and have wasted one of Dirk Nowitzki’s few remaining seasons. The Dallas Stars, currently in 10th place in the Western Conference, have traded away their best players and are building for the future.
It’s the best start in FC Dallas history. It has given the club a six-point cushion in the Western Conference over Chivas USA and a three-point lead over Montreal Impact for the best record in the league.
Fortunately for sports fans, one Dallas team has sprinted out of the gates to take control of their league. Through seven games this season, FC Dallas has earned 16 points out of a possible 21 to put them atop Major League Soccer with a 5-1-1 record.
It’s the best start through seven in club history. It has given them a six-point cushion in the Western Conference over Chivas USA and a three-point lead over Montreal Impact for the best record in the league.
What’s more, FC Dallas has shown so far that they’re doing it with strong defense and by spreading the wealth on offense. They have four players tied with two goals each and three more with a single through seven games for the most goals scored in the league. And the team has allowed only one goal a game, an average that is largely blemished by a 3-1 loss to Chivas on the road in the second match of the campaign.
Even more impressive, the team has four clean sheets and has shut out all of their opponents in the first half. Their lone draw came against Toronto FC on the road, and they are currently a perfect 4-0-0 at home at FC Dallas Stadium.
To put this all in perspective, last year it took FC Dallas until the 22nd game on July 21 to win a fifth match, and the club did not qualify for the playoffs. Right now, FC Dallas is ranked the top squad among five different power rankings, including Sports Illustrated and Goal.com after the 1-0 win on April 13 against previously unbeaten and two-time defending champions Los Angeles Galaxy.
Attendance is up so far this season as well, which usually happens when a club starts winning. The 16,000 fans is still about 5,000 below capacity, but it’s up 2,000 over last year’s average. Those numbers should only grow as the winning on the soccer field continues and basketball and hockey come to a close. This may pale in comparison to the 39,000 fans who watch Seattle Sounders FC matches, but no other club sees those kinds of crowds.
Fortunately for fans, there are still 24 matches to be played through the end of October, providing a refuge from the mediocrity that has underwhelmed North Texas — and giving the Rangers some competition for best sports attraction in the area.