Over the next three weeks, MLSsoccer.com will take a look back at the 2012 season that was for all 19 clubs in Major League Soccer, starting with Toronto FC and ending with the Supporters' Shield-winning San Jose Earthquakes. You can find the schedule and comprehensive reviews for each team here.
2012 record: 9-13-12 (39 points); 42 GF / 47 GA (-5 GD)
In a season in which the trainer’s table got as much action as the training pitch, FC Dallas struggled to a sixth-place finish in the Western Conference, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Schellas Hyndman’s squad suffered an historic number of injuries with starters Brek Shea, Blas Pérez, George John, David Ferreira and Ugo Ihemelu each missing at least 10 games through various knocks.
Couple that with some horribly timed red cards and subpar play at big moments and you have a side that's probably happy to have 2012 behind them and in the books.
Best Moment of the Year
Despite all the adversity in the first 29 games of the season, FC Dallas pulled within one point of Vancouver for the fifth and final playoff spot with Julian de Guzman’s 96th-minute wonder strike against the Whitecaps on Sept. 15. Acquired halfway through the year from Toronto FC, de Guzman integrated seamlessly into the team and left a mark that won’t soon be forgotten with his amazing and impeccably timed golazo.
Worst Moment of the Year
A season’s worth of frustration was on display during July’s 2-1 loss at San Jose. In a game broadcast across the country on NBC Sports Network, Shea and Hyndman engaged in a highly public verbal exchange as the winger was subbed off the field, leading to a two-game cooling off period for one of MLS' most promising prospects. Adding insult to injury, Jair Benítez skied a stoppage-time penalty kick that would’ve saved a miracle point for FCD.
It’s such a great moment, we’re including it twice. De Guzman’s goal may have not been a finalist for AT&T MLS Goal of the Year, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a cleaner strike of the ball anywhere in the league this season. The former La Liga star showed his pedigree, chesting down a cleared corner at the top of the box before volleying a rocket that 'Caps goalkeeper Brad Knighton had no chance of saving. At any point in the match it would be a moment to savor, but the dramatics behind the goal only increased its legend.
Kevin Hartman had about a dozen moments this season worthy of the nod, but his incredible double save in Houston takes the cake. With the game tied 1-1, Hartman stoned both Brian Ching and Will Bruin in quick succession before Jackson cleared another chance off the line.
erreira may have played just half the season, but “El Torito” showed just how important he is to FC Dallas in a vintage second-half campaign. With just a few weeks of training after 15 months away from the game following to his horrific ankle injury, Ferreira quickly got back to the level that saw him named 2010 MLS Most Valuable Player, tallying two goals and nine assists in 17 games. FC Dallas was 6-4-6 in games that Ferreira started and just 3-9-6 without their talisman.
Hyndman finally found the alpha dog forward he’s been searching for since 2010, and he arrived with a Panamanian flag. When healthy, Pérez was a force for FC Dallas, scoring nine goals and tallying four assists in 20 games. In a season full of injuries, Pérez’s may have been the one hardest felt, as Dallas simply dug too big a hole in the summer months for his return to turn things around. An honorable mention has to go to rookie center back Matt Hedges, who, in a different year, may have won the MLS Rookie of the Year award.
1. Replace (or re-sign) de Guzman: The fact of the matter is Hyndman’s starting XI is relatively set as we head into 2013. The one glaring hole is in defensive midfield, where FCD are unlikely to bring back the Canadian, who will likely command Designated Player money should he return to MLS. With Daniel Hernandez’s retirement, Dallas head into 2013 without their starting and backup defensive midfielders. Should the club make an international splash in the transfer market, this is likely the spot they will do it.
2. Find a backup forward to push “Super Raton”: When Pérez (right) was healthy, almost everything was right with the FCD offense. However, when the Panamanian was unavailable, things tended to fall apart. With Peéez likely to miss a significant amount of time on international duty, technical director Fernando Clavijo has traveled far and wide to find a suitable backup to step in when the forward is away.
3. Get Shea healthy: If Shea is healthy and in form, FC Dallas will once again be a MLS Cup contender. If he's neither or those things, they could regress to also-rans yet again. With an already loaded lineup, a return to 2011 form for the blonde Texan could make FCD a terror for every MLS defense. However, Shea will be almost six months removed from an MLS appearance when he returns from offseason foot surgery in mid-February, and it could be several games into the campaign before he’s back to full fitness.