FC Dallas are an American football team based in Frisco, Texas who play in the MLS Western Conference. They rose from the ashes of the former Dallas Burn.
The Original Club from Dallas
Dallas Burn were originally formed in 1996 and finished as runners-up in the Western Conference twice, as well as winning the Open Cup in 1997. They played in the 68,000 capacity Cotton Bowl, former home of the Dallas Cowboys, from 1996-2002.
However, they were forced to leave in 2002 due to the rental costs of such a huge stadium, particularly when they were only filling around a quarter of it. This marked the beginning of the end for the franchise as, in 2002, the club was taken over by sports-promoter and millionaire Lamar Hunt.
In an effort to save money, the club played its 2003 home games at Dragon Stadium, a high school stadium in the Forth Worth suburb of Southlake. After receiving complaints from fans about the distance they had to travel from Frisco and because of the money lost due to being unable to sell alcohol at a school stadium, the Dallas Burn moved back to the Cotton Bowl for the 2004 season.
This itinerant lifestyle didn’t help the team on the pitch and, in the 2003 and 2004 seasons, the Burn finished bottom of the Western Conference and failed to make the playoffs. This drop in form resulted from a lack of funds and very low attendances; they dropped from 13,000 on average to 7,000. At the end of the 2004 season the club was liquidated and reborn as FC Dallas.
In August 2005 FC Dallas moved to Pizza Hut Park, a soccer-specific stadium with a capacity of 20,500. The move was far more in keeping with the support and attendances have since increased to around 15,000 on average.
First season as FC Dallas
In 2005 the newly-formed FC Dallas, under coach Colin Clarke, made an impressive start, finishing second in the Western Conference. They topped off this league showing with a great cup run, reaching the Open Cup final after a nail-biting run.
They scraped through 3-1 in extra-time against both Second Division-team Wilmington FC in the third round and the Colombus Crew in the fourth round and won a quarter-final penalty shoot-out against DC United following a 94th minute equaliser from Carlos Ruiz. Dallas then edged out bitter rivals the Chicago Fire 1-0 in the semi-final, before being defeated by the same score-line by the LA Galaxy in the final.
At the end of the season, Clarke was replaced by fellow Northern Irelander Steve Morrow. The transition proved very smooth as, the following season, FC Dallas finished six points clear at the top of the Western Conference.
This was their first major trophy as FC Dallas and put the club back on the map as one of the biggest American soccer clubs. Sadly, the season was marked by a degree of disappointment as the club lost on penalties in the first round of the playoffs to the Colorado Rapids.
A less successful season
In 2007 Dallas could only finish in third place in the league but once again made it to the Open Cup final. They won on penalties against the Atlanta Silverbacks in the third round, then progressed to the semi-final courtesy of an extra-time goal from Arturo Alvarez, where they scored twice in the added period against Seattle Sounders to get to the final.
However, they once again fell at the final hurdle as they lost 3-2 to the New England Revolution. Disappointment was accompanied by despair when the season ended after a comfortable defeat to the Houston Dynamo in the first round of the playoffs.
Nickname and rivalries
FC Dallas’ nickname is the Hoops, due to the horizontal red and white stripes. The fanclub is called Hoops Nation which provides members with two free tickets every season, discounted prices for certain games as well as other benefits.
The club’s biggest rivals are the Chicago Fire. Since 2001 they have competed for the Brimstone Cup, decided by the results of the league games between the Fire and Dallas during the season. Despite losing the inaugural Brimstone Cup in 2001, FC Dallas won it in 2002 and have took the bragging rights every year since.
Since the creation of the Houston Dynamos in 2005, the two clubs have formed an inter-state rivalry and compete in the Texas Derby for El Capitan, a cannon which is awarded to the winner of the competition (decided in the same way as the Brimstone Cup). FC Dallas’ record in this competition is poor, as they are yet to win the Texas Derby in the two years since its inception.
Recently, a fierce rivalry has developed with the Colorado Rapids after comments made by Rapids players and officials following the 2006 playoff match.
FC Dallas have had many international players from all over the world and some names which football fans in England will know well. Their starting goal-keeper for the 2007 season was Trinidad and Tobago international and former Newcastle Utd, West Ham, Portsmouth and Charlton player Shaka Hislop.
In midfield they have former Millwall player and Canadian international Adriend Serioux, who fans may remember for his huge throw-ins, long dreadlocks and poor disciplinary record. Ex-Derby County, Motherwell and Finland midfielder Simo Valakari and former Arsenal, Queen’s Park Rangers and Peterborough defender Steve Morrow have also played for the Hoops. Northern Irishman Morrow is now the club’s Head Coach and has been since the 2006 season.
World Cup winner Denilson, the player who was once the most-expensive signing of all time, played for FC Dallas during the 2007 season. The Brazilian scored one goal in seven games before being left out of the squad for the playoff games.
FC Dallas have also had American internationals Eddie Johnson, Cory Gibbs of Charlton, Drew Moor, Kenny Cooper, Arturo Alvarez and Jason Kreis. The latter, now the manager of Real Salt Lake, is a legend at Dallas and is the clubs top goal-scorer and appearance-maker.
FC Dallas are one of the favourites to pick up silverware once again this season and are one of the most consistent teams in the Western Conference. Their finances and attendances have both become more stable recently and the club looks to have a good platform to build on for the future.
- US Open Cup – Winners (1997), Runners-up (2005, 2007)
- MLS Supporters’ Shield – Winners (2006)