With Christmas right around the corner and the 2020 MLS season fast approaching, I wanted to share my FC Dallas 2019 Christmas list.
I will include some things I’d like to see in the immediate future in the 2020 season and some things I’d like Santa to bring to FCD faithful a little further down the line as a long term wishes for the club.
A Proven Number 9
Getting the most obvious and most widely requested item out of the way, how wonderful would it be to see a proven, goal-scoring number 9 suiting up for FC Dallas? Zdenek Ondrasek has done a lot to ingratiate himself with the fans and seems poised to take a step forward with the squad, but he’s more of a poacher, a guy who gets himself into good positions in the box and uses his physicality, work rate and savvy to his advantage, he’s a great player and a great person! But FCD faithful will always wonder what the team could be capable of with an expensive number 9, especially as other teams go out and sign players with good goal scoring records in other leagues, such as Sporting KC’s signing of Alan Pulido and Vancouver’s signing of Lucas Cavallini, both accomplished goal scorers in Liga MX.
The reality is that FCD is more likely to develop their own goal scorer and I think everyone would be overjoyed if Ricardo Pepi turned out to be that player. That being said, Pepi is a 16-year-old and it would be incredible for his development to be able to learn under an experienced and accomplished goal scorer at the number 9 spot.
East Side Shade
Moving away from the play on the field to another of the most widely requested and discussed topics among FC Dallas fans, the need for some shade over the east side of the stadium. As it stands now, the east side gets absolutely blasted by the sun during any day game. As any Texan knows, for a decent chunk of the year, sitting in the sun for multiple hours at a time is not the best way to pass the time. With the recent Hall of Fame updates and renovations to the south end of the stadium that has greatly improved the overall look of the stadium, the next obvious step in stadium renovations is to do something to get some shade on the east side. Whether that’s a structure over the east side itself or something built on the west side to towering above the stadium and provide some shade, something needs to be put in place to make Toyota Stadium truly viable for years to come.
As a season ticket holder in the beer garden, this one is a much more personal wish. To be clear, the front office took a huge step in 2019 in regards to game day atmosphere in the supporters’ section by finally allowing for the smoke to be used by Dallas Beer Guardians and El Matador at certain times of the game, such as kick-off and when FCD scores a goal. That being said, Toyota Stadium still has what is likely the most underwhelming supporters’ section in the league, with the beer garden essentially just being some high school level bleachers. In recent years, MLS clubs have taken huge strides to enhance the experience for fans who wish to stand and sing for 90 minutes by introducing safe standing in their supporters’ sections. Orlando City, Minnesota United, LAFC and, new for 2020, New York Red Bulls, have all constructed supporters’ sections with safe standing. Of course, Dallas has an additional challenge of the beer garden area also being the stage area for Toyota Stadium but getting on the cutting edge of stadium design would not only be huge for the fans themselves but would also be another fantastic renovation to keep Toyota Stadium updated and modern.
Bring Back the Hoops
In the past few seasons, Dallas has seemed to try to move away from their traditional hooped kits, with 2018 marking the first season since the club took on the name FC Dallas to not have a kit with even a hint of hoops and 2019 carried that on with the introduction of the all-white “Reunion” kit. It is unclear if the club wants to completely detach themselves from hoops for the long term or just wanted to try something new for a few seasons. The 2020 season is FCD’s 25th anniversary season and the team is due for a new home kit. The last time a home kit had the traditional red and white hoops were back in the 2013 season so the time seems ripe to bring back the hoops to honor the club’s history in their 25th anniversary season. In an MLS landscape that continues to rapidly expand red and white hoops would provide the club with a unique visual identity that isn’t found throughout the rest of the league and the club should take the opportunity to bring them back.
A New TV Partner
To be clear, in terms of the actual broadcast, TXA21 does a great job. Mark Followill and Steve Davis make for a fantastic commentary crew and the production work is generally quite good. The issue is simply that FCD is not remotely a priority for the channel and every season on TXA21 has seen Dallas games get bumped to tape delay due to scheduling conflicts caused by Dallas Cowboys preseason games. The Cowboys demand priority for CBS, which bumps CBS programming to TXA21, their affiliate, which in turn bumps FC Dallas to tape delay. Simply put, having a professional team end up on tape delay is nothing short of unacceptable and as soon as the club has an opportunity to renegotiate that deal, whether it is a new deal giving FCD a higher priority with CBS and TXA21 or if it is on to a new partner (Fox Sports Southwest?), Dallas must address this issue. For a club that struggles to be taken seriously in its own market, games ending up on tape delay is a massive issue, both for the fans for the optics of the club.
What is on your FC Dallas Christmas list for this season and beyond?
Sound off in the comments below!
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