FC Dallas is one of the best clubs in MLS, without a doubt. They came within a goal or two of winning the Supporters' Shield last year and fell just short of getting the chance to play for the MLS Cup. With two of the best players in the league, Fabian Castillo and Mauro Diaz, they were many people's favorites to win it all in 2016.
And the Houston Dynamo just beat them.
That was a gigantic understatement. Actually, the Dynamo didn't just beat them; they clobbered them. They destroyed them. They lambasted them. I could list a few more adjectives, but I think you get the point: it was a beatdown of colossal proportions.
From the beginning of the match Houston looked like they were playing FIFA on amateur difficulty. Not only were they scoring goals left and right, they were dominating Dallas in every facet of the game. The ball never came out of FCD's defensive third, and the Dynamo constantly shut down any semblance of attack their weak opponent could muster. Diaz was smothered every time the ball came to him, and was consistently outnumbered by an energetic midfield.
The home team, backed by a hyped crowd filled mostly with orange, had so much energy and determination that they were able to do away with the difference in talent between these two sides. Dallas came out looking flat as a pancake while the Dynamo showed up everywhere on the field, pressuring the away team into submission while slipping goal after goal past poor Jesse Gonzalez, the rattled 20-year old goalkeeper.
While it was obvious that FC Dallas had no intention of helping themselves–center-back Matt Hedges, who made an appearance on the MLS Best XI squad last year, literally passed the ball into his own net after a miscommunication with Gonzalez–this win was more about the Dynamo's attitude and effort than anything else. They never really stopped pressuring Dallas, and were able to take the ball off them easily.
Their counter-attack was on point, their pace proved to be too much for FCD's defense, and, perhaps the most encouraging sign, they never took their foot off the petal.
But again, it wasn't the tactics or the fundamentals or the technique that got them the most well-earned and satisfying three points in a long time. It was the effort, the amount of determination and dedication.
Aside from injuries to Giles Barnes and Cristian Maidana, there wasn't a single negative to take from this game. The Dynamo showed the league why they will be in the playoff race, and why there won't be an easy game against the Houston Dynamo this season.