FC Dallas 2007 Review: Succeed…Choke…Repeat

FC Dallas
Record (W-L-T): 13-12-5; 37 GF, 44 GA
Source Material: Schedule/match reports; roster

Overview
Some recent constants held for FC Dallas in 2007: lead the Western Conference in the early-mid part of the season – check; head into the post-season like a pack of whipped dogs – check; consequently, lose in the first round – check; have at least one offensive player enjoy a stellar season, Arturo Alvarez’s 2007 to Kenny Cooper’s 2006 – check; have the work of the offense compromised by a shaky defense – check…well, sort of. A lot of similarities tied the campaign just past to the one that came before and upgrades in personnel, changes to the coaching staff, none of it seems to matter.

It’s got to be the grand narrative – the whole pattern of “succeed…choke…repeat,” familiar since 2005 – that most pains Dallas fans and players. It’s like the definition of insanity – e.g. doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results – except Dallas should have a choice. You’d think the coaching staff would order the players to take it easy during the first half of the season, have them rest through August – something – to switch it up. But the pattern persists and has over the past couple seasons.

For all the similarities, some changes did occur on the detail level. Combining an exciting offense with a dodgy defense has been part of Dallas’ reputation since Carlos Ruiz joined the club. That was definitely part of what I expected to discuss when I sat down to type this review. Even knowing Ruiz had an off-year and that Cooper went down after June 9, seeing a meager 37 goals still came as a shock. What about Juan Toja’s arrival? Alvarez’ breakout season? It’s not until you get down to individual stats (all available here) that it adds up, beginning with the fact that Ruiz’ seven goals led the team. This team, possessed of so many well-known weapons, finished fourth from last overall in scoring. Continue reading

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Shevchenko to the MLS Rumors Resurface

The UK’s Mirror have re-opened the wound that is the Abrahomivich, Mourinho, Shevchenko rift.

Many blame the expensive Sheva blow-up as the straw that broke the camel’s back between Mourinho and Abrahamovich. Shevchenko just wants to play and right now – even with Mourinho gone – he still doesn’t. At what point is Chelsea going to cut their losses on a $60 million investment? Apparently, Sheva fears sooner rather than later. With the January transfer window fast approaching, Chelsea is ready to listen to offers, but there is one catch – Didier Drogba is leaving for a little over a month to play for Cote D’Ivoire in the African Nations Cup. Therefore, Chelsea could stick with Shevchenko – give him a month and be stuck with him the rest of the year – or bring another high-profile striker. Many are predicting Bolton’s Nicholas Anelka (whose wide-open miss against Liverpool this past Sunday was unexplainable). Either way, Sheva’s days at Stamford Bridge are numbered. 5 goals in all competitions this year won’t excite anyone, regardless of price tag.

The Mirror is reporting that the Red Bulls and the Revolution are the two teams pulling for a Shevchenko swoop, but past rumors have confirmed that D.C. United are just as likely to get in on the chase.  

At 31, is this the time that Sheva looks to make his final US career move? Or will Dynamo Kiev, AC Milan, etc. come in and snap him up for a couple years?