But they exited SeatGeek Stadium fully chastened, following a 4-0 rout by the Fire in which all the goals were scored before halftime.
Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez admitted the tough day at the office needs to be a learning opportunity for the team.
“This is probably for me as a coach my biggest lesson for the season," Gonzalez said following the loss. "This is my biggest lesson. This is my staff’s biggest lesson. I know this is the players’ biggest lesson, and we’re going to learn a lot from this to be better in the next opportunity.”
The goals came thick and fast for Chicago in the opening 45 minutes, with CJ Sapong notching his first of two goals just seven minutes in off a wayward backpass. Strikes by Przemyslaw Frankowski, Sapong and Nemanja Nikolic followed, and Gonzalez's side couldn't regroup as the floodgates opened.
“We were opened up defensively today," Gonzalez noted. "Chicago took advantage of that and we didn’t get ourselves reorganized. Even when we were down one or even two, we didn’t reorganize to kind of bunker a little bit and find some defensive solidity. And then we’re chasing the game … Again, very disappointing. This is not what we came here to do.”
Dallas aren't out of the reckoning for the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs yet; they're still sitting above the Western Conference playoff line, but only just — and with just four games left to play, the heavy loss did them no favors.
“I have to say sorry to our fans," Gonzalez said. "We let our fans down and we feel it. It hurts. We have to accept it. We have to own it, but if there’s something I know about this group is that they respond. We’ve got a quick turnaround in Seattle and what better opportunity than to go over there and channel everything we’re learning here and the hurt and bouncing back at the next opportunity."
“That’s life," he added. "That’s soccer. That’s the moment we’re in. If there’s anything I know about this group, they’re up for it."