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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MLS Team News, Week 23: Injuries, Tactics (Sorta), Rising Stars (Sorta)

Welcome to my first crack at posting team news from all-’round Major League Soccer (MLS). What comes below will be by no means exhaustive; really, it’s only a compilation of what I bumped into during my travels. And, of course, anyone feeling I made a grave omission is welcome to correct that in the comments; by the same token, tips and mentions to reports are also welcome, so’s I can post those in future editions.

And, yes, I’m aware that I’m starting this feature appallingly late in the season. Without further adu…shit, habit…without further adu – dammit! seriously, it happened again – without further ADO, enjoy the team news. If I skipped your bunch, it doesn’t mean I don’t like ’em; you’ll notice entries for both DC United and the Los Angeles Galaxy below. Hell, I’ll even start with ’em:

DC United
Marc Burch finds his MLS niche

Emilio’s and Vanney’s upside(s)

Kissing Ben Olsen’s butt, but also laying out good dish on DC’s tactics.

Los Angeles Galaxy

Look at all them injuries. It’s true: nobody walks in LA.

New England Revolution

The FNGs from Gambia (don’t worry about the name in the headline; he ain’t comin’).

Real Salt Lake

Beckerman believes in Kreis (see bottom)

Colorado Rapids

Casey rising; Sanneh plugging holes

Kansas City Wizards

Hunting the August Slump

Chicago Fire

Gimpy Guerrero

Columbus Crew

Comings/Goings (Szetela); Convalescing and Waivers

FC Dallas

FrankenCooper “ready to push himself”; Goodson concussion

New York Red Bulls (or is it Red Bull New York?)

Jozy’s injury; Galarcep’s sass

Well, that’s it for this….waitaminute…whoops…

Toronto FC

Dichio’s busted foot, TFC’s doomed season.

OK, done now for reals.