FRISCO, Texas—The treble dream is dashed.
Though hours after being knocked out of the MLS Playoffs, in a stadium where the fans have grown accustomed to nothing but celebrations all season long, might seem like an inappropriate time to reflect on the season’s success, FC Dallas did not shy away from just that following their postseason exit.
Sunday's 2-1 victory against Seattle Sounders FC left Dallas short in a 4-2 aggregate loss, sending them home following Leg 2 of their Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals defeat at Toyota Stadium.
FCD think they left one on the table.
“It’s that feeling that it’s not enough,” said head coach Oscar Pareja. “[But] thinking that we get two trophies to the city, to the club, and then to have success during the season and put ourselves in the position we were in, obviously is a great job by this group of players, and I have to recognize them.”
Pareja tongue-in-cheek said “Thank you” when asked whether he considers the season a success, despite the early postseason exit after running through much of the 34-week regular season as the league’s best team.
After all, they did claim the Supporter’s Shield and post a second consecutive 60-point season, all while also running the table in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup and positioning themselves for a run in the CONCACAF Champions League.
“Today it kind of seems like a failure, but tomorrow it will be like this was a good season overall,” said forward Tesho Akindele, who gave FC Dallas life by scoring the team’s first goal. “If you told us we were going to get two trophies this season, we would have taken that at the beginning.”
Said midfielder Mauro Rosales: “The feeling is not just looking at this round in the semi-finals – look at what we did the whole year. What we accomplished is really, really good. Two tournaments out of three is really good.”
Taking 3-of-3 trophies would have been much more achievable had the team not suffered the detrimental blow of losing playmaker Mauro Diaz to a torn Achilles’ tendon three weeks ago against none other than the Sounders.
Rosales stepped in for Diaz in Leg 2, after the team failed to hold the fort with a defensive formation in Leg 1, and wondered what could have been.
“Obviously with Mauro ,it could have been a different story,” Rosales said. “But it is a team. This is why we’re a team. Everybody has to step up in the moment when we have to, and all players have a role on this team.
“He was a big part of the success of this team, and he’s very important because he’s the leader and captain. But we managed to play without him in the season as well, in the Open Cup, in the CONCACAF. We’ve been successful – that’s why we got two tournaments out of the three.”
When the dust has settled on 2016, it will be looked upon as the most successful year in FC Dallas history – they collected silverware for the first time since 1997, and collected twice as much as they had in the 20 years prior.
Yet this team might well look back at this MLS Cup run thinking they came as close as anyone to making history.
“In this moment, with a group like ours who is very competitive, we know that we could have gotten more,” Pareja said. “It’s a difficult time. But we have to keep our heads up, look backwards, and see how that journey has been. I think the group of players who were involved with the development of this group should feel proud.”