Dallas has had an… interesting offseason. The kind of interesting that makes you squint your eyes in confusion, and makes you question what’s been going on with the higher-ups over there. The kind of interesting that makes you question if their past wasn’t some sort of elaborate hoax.
Last season, they placed 4th in the western conference. They started their playoff by immediately flaming out against the eventual runners-up, the Portland Timbers. Soon after, their long-time head coach, Oscar Pareja, a name which should spark hatred and venom from many of the Rapids loyal, decided that his time was over and left them hanging for a new coach. In his place, they hired Luchi Gonzales (another coach with ties to the Rapids, though this time as a player). He has only recently started his senior coaching, having been the academy director since 2012.
Their offseason saw a lot of moves from their roster, with former Rapids player Maynor Figueroa, Dallas’ 2018 Golden Boot co-winners Roland Lamah and Maxi Urruti, long-time player Victor Ulloa, and youth US national team potential superstar Chris Richards all leaving the team.
In their place, Dallas brought in two SuperDraftees, two new Homegrown players, a Brazilian defender, a Czech forward, and a Honduran midfielder. Of these, only the Honduran midfielder Bryan Acosta is likely to make any sort of impact. He’s been getting playing time, whereas most of them have not seen minutes in their three games so far. Their hyped-up Czech forward, Zdeněk Ondrášek has yet to even make the 18 in any of the three games. He’s apparently got the nickname of “the Cobra”, which makes you wonder.
Gonzales has been playing Dallas in a 4-3-3 formation, which has led them to a 1-1-1 record. A 1-1 draw against New England, a 2-0 win against LA Galaxy (after a retrospectively hilarious ad campaign about “Taming the Lion” when Zlatan didn’t even play in the game), and a 1-0 loss against Columbus on the road.
In front of their offense is old Rapids friend Dominique Badji. Surely you remember him—the player that we traded for Kellyn Acosta? Man, in hindsight that trade is looking better and better. Could you imagine what this team would look like if we still needed to have Badji starting for us?
Overall, I’m not as scared of Dallas as I have been in previous years. I still smile ear to ear when I think back to us deflating Dallas pretty badly in our final home game of the year last year, with Cole Bassett scoring for the first time right in front of 117 and Tommy Smith clinching the Golden Boot award for us. I think the result against SKC was a bit disappointing, but we have to keep in mind that SKC is still a top-level team in MLS and we’re still trying to come together as a team.
That being said, I absolutely think we can get a win against Dallas on their home turf.
What do you think? Will we be seeing our first three-point result of 2019? Or will we be waiting for that until we return to Commerce City?