Posted by redwhiteandblues
In which FC Dallas gifts Portland Timbers a goal for 1 – 1 draw
I spent St. Patty’s day, or evening actually, at FC Dallas Stadium (formerly Pizza Hut Park). I wasn’t able to make it to the season opener last Sunday versus NY Red Bulls as I was traveling with my family on spring break. I enjoyed watching FCD beat the Red Bulls on NBC Sports Network though and thoroughly enjoyed their coverage. NBC didn’t dumb anything down at all (unlike a certain channel that starts with an “F” and ends with an “ox” during their nationally televised Champions League final). So Saturday night was my first opportunity of the 2012 season to see FCD live as they battled the ax men from the northwest, better known as the Portland Timbers. Here are my random musings on the match experience:
FCD’s new forward Blas Perez of Panama (I think he should go by that full moniker, including “of Panama” just for fun) has been impressive in his first two games. He kept the Timbers on their toes in the first half (scoring FCD’s only goal), but in the second they paid closer attention to his wily maneuverings and that, coupled with a lack of offensive support from his FCD cronies, kept him from threatening as much.
Enjoyment of a match in person is seriously affected by those seated around you. Most of my experiences at FCD games have been quite positive, but last night I had a trio of male knuckleheads babbling incessantly behind me. They quickly beat everyone over the head with the fact they are Timbers fans, though only one had on a Timbers jacket (the other two inexplicably wore a Man U jacket and an old Dallas Burn jersey). They regaled the rest of us with comedic gems like “Nice dive!” (directed at an FCD player), quickly followed by “Nice scuba suit!” They also got a kick out of “Hey linesman, your sports bra too tight?” which I thought was a blow aimed at the poor linesman’s manhood until I realized that he actually was wearing some sort of clearly visible sports bra-like device under his ref jersey. As if fans need further excuse to ridicule refs! Not sure what that was all about – perhaps MLS is tracking refs’ vital signs this year via the bra, I mean device. The Timber Trio’s favorite barb of the night though was their admonishment to any FCD player who got knocked down to “Hit the weights!” They apparently thought this sage advice since they screamed it approximately one thousand times during the match. Oddly enough, the motor mouths didn’t appear to be drunk at all.
Vuvuzelas mar the soccer world. Unfortunately, the plastic horn menaces – that sound like a cross between a wounded Wookie and an elephant – are a perpetual presence at FCD matches. I much prefer the steady crowd roar, singing, and chanting of European matches to vuvuzelas and drum beating. The honk of the vuvuzela is a truly melancholy wail that sounds downright depressing, particularly in the 88th minute when your team is tied or losing and could use an aural spark. That’s the main problem with vuvus – they’re not peppy in the least. Perhaps the suits think vuvus help create “atmosphere”. They are mistaken. Vuvus sound ridiculous and aren’t festive in the least. The only good thing about vuvus is that every time I hear one I’m reminded of Will Ferrell as “Jeff Vuvuzela” at the Espy’s a couple years ago.
FC Dallas has made several improvements to the match experience for fans. I like the new seating right behind the north goal, which helps a bit to enclose the cavernous stage/beer garden space. The halftime videos hosted by Vydra were very well done and quite entertaining – I particularly enjoyed the Q&A with Ricardo Villar in which he had to choose between random things like “Man City or Man U” (I forgive him for choosing Man U – was hoping he’d say “neither”). One improvement the club still desperately needs however is a larger on-site team store. The current shoebox size shop is entirely inadequate. Saturday night before the game they had to use a frazzled bouncer to allow folks in a few at a time, but even then, once finally inside, the shop was literally shoulder-to-shoulder which made it impossible to fully browse the merchandise.
As for the match, Dallas controlled the first half, but the Timbers adequately adjusted after halftime and came out looking like a different team. Even so, the Dallas defense (led by Ugo Ihemelu and Zach Loyd) was solid and likely would’ve held on to win were it not for Kevin Hartman’s uncharacteristic blunder in which he booted the ball straight up to the top of his own box where Portland’s Darlington Nagbe was waiting to pounce and slipped in an easy goal to tie the game. Unfortunately, Dallas often found themselves short-handed on the attack as the spark provided by Loyd’s wing runs in the first half virtually disappeared in the second. There was precious little offensive creativity from Dallas in the second half (which only encouraged the restless vuvuzela blowers). FCD really needs David Ferreira back from injury and Brek Shea back from Olympic qualifying duty!
Despite the vuvus and obnoxious Timbers fans, it was a good time as usual at FC Dallas Stadium. The draw was disappointing, but Dallas generally looks strong and should be very competitive this year.
Where do you think FC Dallas will finish in the Western Conference standings this year?
Posted in FC Dallas
Tags: Blas Perez, Brek Shea, Champions League Final, Dallas Burn, Darlington Nagbe, David Ferreira, ESPN, Espy Awards, FC Dallas Stadium, FC Dallas Team Store, FC Dallas v. Portland Timbers, Fox, Jeff Vuvuzela, Kevin Hartman, Manchester City, Manchester United, MLS on NBC, MLS Western Conference, NBC Sports Network, New York Red Bulls, Olympic Qualifying, Panama, Pizza Hut Park, Portland Timbers, Ricardo Villar, St. Patrick’s Day, Timbers’ Army, Ugo Ihemelu, US Olympic Team, US Under-23 National Team, vuvuzelas, Vydra, Will Ferrell, Wookie, Zach Loyd