FC Dallas in MLS Division Finals

Oscar Pareja’s team, FC Dallas will compete for the Western Division title against the Portland Timbers. The format is a home-home series with the first game at Portland this weekend, Sunday November 22 at 6:30 pm, CST (Fox Sports 1). The teams will then come to Frisco’s Toyota Stadium for the second game on Sunday, November 29, time TBA.

Finishing first in the Western Division during the regular season, Dallas tied for MLS best regular season record with New York Red Bulls with an 18 – 10 – 6 record. The regular season trophy, the Supporter’s Shield, went to New York on tie breaker of goal differential.

2015 Audi MLS Cup playoffs

Now in the MLS Cup playoffs, Dallas has top seed in the west. They were matched against Seattle for the quarterfinals. In Seattle, Dallas was initially winning 1-0 but conceded 2 goals late in the game to come home with a first leg loss off 1 – 2. The second game of the series in Dallas was a must win game. Because of the rules that an away goal counts more than a home goal for tie-breaking, Dallas could hope to win the series with a 1 – 0 win at home; so that the aggregate would be 2 – 2, winning because of the goal away at Seattle.

The game at home was electric, the crowd was on it’s feet most of the time. Dallas dominated the action with multiple strikes against Seattle that were either saved by the goalie or by hitting the posts. Emotions were high, however there were no goals through late in the game. Then Coach Pareja made substitutions in the 83rd minute of Tesho AkindeleWalker Zimmerman and Blas Perez. Within minutes, Dallas finally scored. The crowd of 17,287 went wild!  But in the final minute of regulation time, Seattle scored to even the game, and ahead on aggregate goals. The crowd fell silent. Playing in stoppage time, Blas Perez sent a ball towards Walker Zimmerman who headed the ball into the net for a goal as time was nearly expired! The aggregate was tied.

The game continued to extra time. After 30 minutes still tied, the teams went to the traditional soccer tie breaker: penalty kicks. Commentators talked about the inexperience of the Dallas goalkeeper,  Jesse Gonzalez, all of 20 years old and having just started his MLS career in the last 6 months.  They commented how he was facing a team of seasoned professionals. In the end, this young ‘keeper stopped two penalty kicks to win the game. After a roller coaster of emotion and a game that lasted 2 and a half hours, Dallas had finally won.

Fascinating highlights from the Seattle game:

Highlights – FC Dallas vs Seattle – Nov. 8, 2015

Come on out to the game on Sunday, November 29 and lets cheer FC Dallas to win over Portland.  Check listings for game time, TBD. This semi-final series will determine the Western Division Champion, and which team goes to the final game of the playoffs to play for the 2015 Audi MLS CUP.