CARSON, Calif.—It might not have been pretty toward the end, but FC Dallas capped off a fantastic season Sunday.
A largely uneventful 0-0 draw with LA Galaxy at StubHub Center clinched the Supporters’ Shield for Dallas, their second piece of silverware this season after winning the US Open Cup in September.
“I’ve been trying hard just to keep the boys in the philosophy of playing one game at a time and with our group sometimes it’s, in my opinion, overwhelming just to demand such an assignment,” said FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja. “It’s fine to dream about it, but for them it’s just one game at a time. It’s a lot, but now we have the next objective and it’s the playoffs and obviously that will make us feel that the treble is possible.”
Dallas held a reserve-filled Galaxy side in check throughout most of the afternoon, limiting LA to two shots on target all match. Center back and captain Matt Hedges led the stalwart defense, just as he has throughout the season.
“It was our goal all year [to win the shield],” Hedges said. “We worked very hard, and it came to fruition. We were the best team all year, I feel like, and we got rewarded.”
Going into Sunday’s match, all Dallas needed was a win or a draw to clinch the Supporters’ Shield, but it certainly wasn’t going to be easy. Not only were they facing LA at home, who were 8-1-7 at StubHub Center entering the affair, but they were without the services of Mauro Diaz, who was ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn Achilles tendon. Add in the fact that FC Dallas would be on short rest, as they played a CONCACAF Champions League game in Guatemala on Thursday, and Sunday looked to be an uphill battle.
“[It’s a] reward for the guys for such an effort this week,” Pareja said. “Going to Guatemala for CONCACAF, and getting a tremendous result against Seattle [via last weekend's 2-1 win], put us in this run and gave us the option to own the destiny of this club. They came to LA and got the job done, so we are very proud.”
Now the focus turns to the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs, where should Dallas win the MLS Cup, they’d become the first team in league history to win the domestic “treble.” Despite that significant opportunity, FC Dallas are sticking to the model that has gotten them this far.
“We go one game at a time,” Hedges said. “It was Supporters’ Shield, and it’s behind us, and now we’re focused on the playoffs. We have whoever our opponent is next, and we’ll go from there.”