FC Dallas got off to a rocky start in 2020 like so many of us. Missing the MLS is Back tournament due to Covid-19 positive in the squad. The team has been playing catch up all season. Their first action was a home and away leg with Nashville SC who had also been derailed by the pandemic.
FC Dallas hadn’t come away with three points in a match this season since September 20th. On October 14th though, that would change as Ryan Hollingshead’s 43rd-minute strike against Sporting KC off a Bryan Reynold’s cross, was hit first time out of the air back post and into the net!
In fact, it was Hollingshead with the game-winner on September 20th as well against Sporting KC where FC Dallas saw their last win previous to Wednesday’s contest. Bizarrely enough, both strikes came from about 12 yards out on the back post.
The ball delivery was different, but it was pretty much the same shot, crazy. Crazy? Or was this the work of a crafty veteran who did his homework and it paid dividends? The point is thanks to Hollingshead, FC Dallas is back on track and ready to get to the playoffs.
It’s always difficult for me when two of my teams are playing one another, but I have been an MLS fan since the league's inception. I have been following our neighboring states’ MLS teams long before we had a USL team and for better or worse those are my teams. I’ve seen FC Dallas go through so many changes since 1996, from uniform changes to rebranding to the Shellas Hyndman era to the passing of the torch to Oscar Pareja, a youth movement which saw multiple homegrowns signing at 15 and 16 years of age to the first team, to the reserve team landing in USL I, and now the Luchi Gonzalez tenure.
Never a dull moment I might add. You never want to count FC Dallas out because the second you do, they are flying high once again. Many changes over the years, but since 2014-2015 to the present, there has been one consistent, constant, and that is left-back Ryan Hollinghead. An MLS SuperDraft pick, Hollingshead came to the Lone Star State as a product of the California Soccer Giant UCLA. Hollingshead came into the league as a midfielder and soon showed his versatility by playing on the left or right-wing for Dallas. Even pushed forward at times as a forward in a 4-3-3 formation, Hollingshead is no stranger to scoring goals. Oscar Pareja deployed Hollingshead in many positions but it was a conversion to left-back that has served FC Dallas season after season.
FC Dallas is capable of a late-season surge, as I mentioned before, you can never count them out. Under the direction of a new coach, the key will be for Veterans players like Hollingshead, Matt Hedges, and Michael Barrios showing leadership qualities on the field and leading the charge in defending the club's gritty reputation of clawing back into playoff contention. There is no better way to show those qualities than stepping up and finishing a game scoring opportunity. It’s even sweeter when you score the game-winner against a team at the top of the table, twice!
FC Dallas's charge to the playoffs may have very well started October 14th with that win over Sporting. They will certainly be trying to ride that momentum into the next game against Nashville. Don’t be surprised if FC Dallas not only makes the playoffs but ends up somewhere in the middle of the table rather than just squeaking in at the bottom.
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