This is the fourth part of a series in which we introduce Orlando City fans to the teams our Lions will be facing in 2015 when the team starts play in Major League Soccer. Today we take a look at FC Dallas.
What are the three most important things Orlando City fans need to know about FC Dallas?
Drew Epperley: The three things that come to mind about this club are its history, the emphasis placed on youth development and the style of play that Oscar Pareja has brought to the team this year.
With the history, the team was founded by Lamar Hunt, who had a huge impact in bringing soccer to the US and getting MLS started. The club values what Uncle Lamar did and how his sons are leading the charge now.
FC Dallas places a ton of importance on youth and developing players. They have signed a league record 13 homegrown players since the homegrown program was put in place.
Pareja has brought a strong fight to this club that has resonated throughout the community. You know when you play FCD that you’re going to deal with speed, young players and a physical play that isn’t always pretty but it is effective in producing wins.
What nicknames, chants and slang are unique to FC Dallas, and can you please explain them if they aren’t readily apparent to the outsider?
DE: Some folks still refer to the club as The Hoops. This was due to the jerseys the club donned when they changed names a while back from the Dallas Burn to FC Dallas. Other folks call us FCD, very short and simple.
The Dallas Beer Guardians are the main supporters group, along with DFE Elite, Lone Star Legion and El Matador. All of them have chants that they commonly use throughout the game. Some are what probably every supporter group in MLS uses and others are a little more creative.
What are the can’t-miss things to do when Orlando City fans visit an FC Dallas game?
DE: Oh boy, where do I even begin with this one? If you are going just for an MLS game and nothing else, there are a few good pubs around the stadium that are worth checking out—the Londoner being the first that comes to mind. It is located just west of the stadium but within walking distance.
If you have a little more time in Dallas, there are plenty of great restaurants and pubs to check out. FCD has partnered up with a handful of those bars in town like the Londoner for away games. I personally like the Staggering Irishman in North Dallas and Vickery Park in Plano.
Attractions worth seeing in town can be a long list depending on what you like. From the 6th Floor Museum in downtown Dallas (near where JFK was shot), the slew of shopping malls, like NorthPark, to things like AT&T Stadium in Arlington and downtown Fort Worth. [Editor’s note: downtown Fort Worth is fantastic.]
Who are the key players on FC Dallas that we should know about?
DE: The key guys could change by the time the expansion draft rolls around, but for now the attack runs through guys like Fabian Castillo and Blas Perez, while the defense is controlled by captain Matt Hedges. When healthy, Mauro Diaz is a special player that could easily be an MVP candidate in MLS.
Which of your players do you think might get exposed in the upcoming MLS Expansion Draft?
DE: This is going to be a very interesting Expansion Draft. I know the FCD fans are a tad nervous that it will be similar to 2011 when Portland and Vancouver came into the league. Right now I think veteran players like Stephen Keel, Je-Vaughn Watson, Adam Moffat and maybe even someone like a George John could be exposed.
Special thanks to Drew for his insight into FC Dallas, and we look forward to cheering on our Lions against his FC Dallas squad.
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