FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas celebrated hours into Tuesday evening after winning the US Open Cup – their first trophy in 19 years – with some team employees soaking in the moment until as late, or early, as 6:00 the next morning.
But as much as they partied and cherished the championship moment, it was back to business Wednesday, with the team already training for a Saturday affair with Eastern Conference challenger New York City FC (7 pm ET; MLS LIVE) – an important road game for FC Dallas to keep pace atop the Supporter’s Shield Race.
And of course, the elusive treble.
“Everyone’s really happy to hold something up, but our work’s not done yet,” midfielder Kellyn Acosta told MLSSoccer.com. “We have a big game Saturday. We have to turn our focus right away. We can celebrate [Tuesday night], but now it’s back to business.”
Such can be the cruel reality of winning a title mid-season on a Tuesday. But the club already has their minds set on step two of securing the treble, which is finishing the season strong enough to stave off teams making a late push to knock Dallas off the top of the Supporters' Shield pedestal. Should Dallas capture that title, they can complete the domestic treble by winning MLS Cup in December.
Some in Dallas believe getting that first trophy, or the monkey off their back, was a confidence boost and sign of things to come.
“It’s proof to ourselves that we can win it,” head coach Oscar Pareja said. “People have talked about a club who has been in the league that many years without winning. And this cup is just a big push for us and gives us confidence to keep fighting for the Shield and keep fighting as well for qualifications in the playoffs and hopefully a chance to win the MLS Cup.”
Added Acosta: “It’s a load off our back getting that first trophy. Guys have been working really hard throughout the whole year, putting a lot of hours into this. A lot of hours, a lot of work, from two-a-days to preseason to coming in at night and in the mornings, even having no days off during the week because of games. We thoroughly deserve this.”
Though the first domino has fallen, Pareja and company know their journey isn’t over and that the treble is no easy feat.
“I think it proves is the Open Cup isn’t where it’s going to stop,” FCD midfielder Ryan Hollingshead said. “We’re still pushing for the Supporter’s Shield and the MLS Cup ultimately, so we proved in this tournament we can win it all and can continue to win games even when we go down. That’s going to help us.”