22 April 2009

know your foe - fc dallas (us open cup edition)

DC United begins it's defense of their 2008 US Open Cup Championship tonight 7:30pm at RFK stadium. Despite being the reigning champs, DC is not guaranteed a berth in the Cup due to their poor showing in MLS regular season last year. DC is coming off a 1-1 draw vs. the Revs last week, while Dallas comes is coming off of a 3-2 victory over Toronto FC.

One of the 10 inaugural teams of Major League Soccer, the Dallas Burn began play in 1996. Originally named Dallas Burn the team sported a crest with some sort of acid trip induced gay fire breathing unicorn. The team was purchased by original MLS investors and American Soccer pioneer Lamar Hunt in 2003. In perhaps one of the best moves in MLS history the team changed its name to FC Dallas after the conclusion of the 2004 season. As part of the club's re-branding, new uniforms, and a new logo were unveiled along with the name change.

FC Dallas plays their home games at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, TX. The town of Frisco was settled along the route of the St. Louis-San Fransisco Railway. In 1904, the residents chose the name Frisco City in honor of the railway, later shortened to its present name. Pizza Hut Park opened in the summer of 2005, partially financed by Lamar Hunt and the city of Frisco Texas. Capacity for soccer matches is 20,500 and the stadium is part of a larger complex of 18 soccer fields. Since it's opening it has hosted two MLS Cups, as well as the 2008 NCAA Men's Soccer Final seeing Maryland beat North Carolina 1-0.

As part of a re-branding the club's name was changed to FC Dallas for the 2005 season. The logo features the name FC Dallas and the number 96, signifying the year that the club played its inaugural game, above a drawing of a bull, signifying the kind of Texas cattle that were driven along North Texas trails throughout the 19th century. The logo features the club's new colors red, white and blue, (all of which can be found in the American flag and the state flag of Texas), and a hint of silver. While there is no official nickname for the club they are referred to as the toros, or the hoops apparently referencing the horizontal stripes on their jerseys or some shit.

FC Dallas is one of the few remaining teams in the MLS with out a front of jersey sponsor. Pizza Hut which is headquartered in a north Dallas suburb purchased the naming rights to their home stadium in 2006.

Head to Head Record

DC United has posted a losing record vs. Dallas since 1996, going 13-15-5. Most recently during the 2008 season United was 0-1-1.

Trophy Case

Plenty of space in the ol' Dallas trophy case. No MLS Cup appearances, their best regular season performance was in 2006 when they garnered 52 points (16-12-4) only to miss out on the Supporter's Shield by 3 points to DC United. Dallas (then the burn) won the 1997 US Open Cup defeating none other than DC United. The game ended in a scoreless draw, Dallas won 5-3 on penalty kicks. Since then Dallas has made two other Open Cup final appearances losing to LA in '05, and New England in '07.


Schellas Hyndman took over the reigns in 2008 after interim coach Steve Morrow was fired. Hyndman spent 27 years coaching in the NCAA racking up an impressive 405 victories, and earning honors as the WAC conference coach of the year 8 times while coaching Southern Methodist. Oh..and he'll kick your ass. He's a tenth degree black belt in Aiki Ju-Jutsu. Among other things that allows him to take a straight on kick to the nuts with out batting an eye lash.

Supporter's Groups
The main supporter's group is the inferno who sit directly behind the south-end goal in section 116. Offering such chart topping clever chants as:
(Based on the Commodores song “Brickhouse”)
He’s a Brek…house
He’s mighty mighty…he lets it all hang out
He’s a Brek…house
He hits you back, and that’s a fact
Ain’t holdin’ nothing back
Brek it down Brek it down Brek it down now

Notable former Dallas players include current Cardiff City striker Eddie Johnson, Carlos Ruiz, current Real Salt Lake coach and all time club leading goal and assist leader Jason Kreis, and Ronnie O'Brien. The current roster includes Kenny Cooper, Jeff Cunningham and Dave van den Bergh. Defender Steve Purdy is listed as out. Both teams will field interesting rosters as FC Dallas leaves DC to play LA on Saturday, while DC travels to the dirty jerz to face New York. Typically early Open Cup rounds feature a mix of veterans and rookies. Expect to see new faces on both sides of the ball.

The Game
It's difficult to predict the outcome of the game. On paper DC has a much more talented team the Dallas. Both teams are in the midst of a 10 day stretch that will see both teams playing three matches. DC usually opts to hold earlier Open Cup matches at the Maryland Soccer plex due to low turnouts, that coupled with bad weather and no tv coverage will probably make for a lack luster match from both sides. Some interesting rules concerning US Open Cup play; each side is permitted four substitues per match, but may only dress five international players. Look for Marc Burch to continue his Open Cup hot streak with a goal from a free kick.

Prediction DCU 1 - FCD 0


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