With MLS play suspended through at least May 10th, the league and clubs have been broadcasting and showcasing some of the league’s history.
With a trip down memory lane in mind, I’ve been taking a dive into the FC Dallas YouTube channel, starting with the oldest videos and finding videos that stick out.
For the final chapter of this series, we’ll look through videos from the 2017 season through the present.
As the 2017 season began, virtual reality was entering the mainstream with VR headsets and VR gaming becoming increasingly commonplace. The FCD media team seemed willing to jump on the bandwagon and produced a series of “FCDVR” videos throughout the season.
The video quality on these is not fantastic due to the VR aspect, but you are able to click on the video itself and drag your cursor to get a 360-degree experience, which is pretty cool, especially on videos like Kellyn Acosta’s free-kick goal against Pachuca in the CONCACAF Champions League, where you can watch the crowd’s up-close reaction to the goal. This one is a playlist, so just hit play on the first video and it should play through the rest!
FEATURE: Cards on the Road
In all honesty, the 2017 season was a bit starved for interesting content. The club seemed content with typical pre- and post-game videos and only really offered the occasional behind the scenes look, such as this video featuring Walker Zimmerman, Tesho Akindele, Chris Seitz and a very young Paxton Pomykal killing time on a road trip playing cards.
Honestly, there’s nothing particularly fascinating about this video, but I always enjoy seeing how the players spend their time together on road trips, and watching some of the banter here makes for a decent way to spend 90 seconds.
Newcomers Experience South American BBQ
One of the long-standing traditions of the club dating back to the Oscar Pareja era is the team cookout, done in the Argentinean Asado style, but it had not really been documented on the YouTube channel until the start of the 2018 season when it was introduced to newcomers Reto Ziegler, Anton Nedlyakov and Santiago Mosquera.
This tradition has outlasted Oscar and his staff on through into the Luchi era, so this video is a fun look inside the team and one of their many bonding activities, plus the food looks absolutely incredible.
#TBT: FC Dallas’ 100th Franchise Win | 8.10.02
#TBT: FC Dallas’ 200th Franchise Win | 6.18.11
HIGHLIGHTS: FC Dallas 3, Chicago Fire 1 | 7.14.18
After recording win #299 on the 4th of July against Atlanta United, the club started preparing for win #300 and started by posting a couple of throwbacks Thursday videos to commemorate wins #100 and #200. Win #200 has appeared in this series already when the club included it at #10 on their all-time best wins list they put together to celebrate the 200th win.
Wins #100 and #300, which I’ve included normal highlights of, share a lovely bit of symmetry as they were both Brimstone Cup games against the hated Chicago Fire that ended in 3-1 wins for Dallas.
Kellyn Acosta’s Goodbye Message to the Fans
In hindsight, the 2018 season was the end of an era with it being the final season of Oscar Pareja’s tenure at FC Dallas head coach. The 2018 season was also a transition season, with Pareja and the front office trying to shake things up in the team and bring in new additions. After the first big domino fell in the offseason, with Walker Zimmerman being traded to expansion side LAFC, homegrown midfielder Kellyn Acosta was the second piece, traded to Colorado (by his request) in exchange for Dom Badji.
As a homegrown and a Dallas area native, Acosta’s departure was a big deal, telling FC Dallas fans in 2016 that Acosta would wind up traded within MLS as opposed to sold overseas would have certainly resulted in dumbfounded responses but unfortunately that’s the way things ended up. For the first time with these departures, the club recorded a video of Acosta saying his thanks and his goodbyes to the club and to the fans. We’ll see more of these down the line.
ON THE ROAD: Behind the Scenes in Houston | 8.23.18
If you have been following this YouTube channel dive series, you’ll know that I’m quite partial to these kinds of game day or road trip behind the scenes videos, and there’s not much better than a behind the scenes video for a Texas Derby. This video gives a look into the team’s road trip, their preparation physically and mentally, what they eat on the road, traveling on game day from the hotel and finally the behind the scenes of the game itself from pre-game preparations to the post-game in the locker room.
IN MEMORIAM: Scott Dymond and His Incredible Impact on FC Dallas
During the 2018 season, FC Dallas lost a long time staff member, college director Scott Dymond. For a club that is most well known for youth development and prides itself on not only developing players for the first team but also developing players and getting them college scholarships, Dymond played an incredibly important role in helping both young men and women in the FC Dallas Youth set up get to college.
After a 4 year battle with esophageal cancer, Dymond passed away on September 6th, 2018. In response, the club put together a memorial video, with various members of the FCD set up speaking about how important Dymond was to the club and how much he genuinely cared about the club and all the kids in the youth setup. Undoubtedly, Dymond is a huge loss that the club still feels today.
Homegrowns presented by Elephant Insurance: Paxton Pomykal, Reggie Cannon & Brandon Servania
FC Dallas has been known as a top developmental club for years now but the huge influx of homegrowns on the roster playing meaningful minutes is rather new and with that, there’s been a renewed focus on these players and specifically on marketing these players.
In 2018, FC Dallas presented their “Homegrowns” series, a series of short videos going behind the scenes on various homegrown players’ personal lives and backgrounds. In 2018, they covered Paxton Pomykal, Reggie Cannon, and Brandon Servania, the three most prominent and newest homegrown signings at that time.
Tesho Akindele and Maxi Urruti’s Farewell Messages to FC Dallas Fans
I said there would be more of these. Following a disappointing loss to the Portland Timbers in the 2018 MLS playoffs, the team parted ways with Oscar Pareja and also began to more aggressively try to change the look of the team, starting with two high profile attackers in Tesho Akindele and Maxi Urruti. Akindele was a long time fan favorite who had been drafted by the club and won rookie of the year in 2014, but had seen his playing time and production steadily drop off since his rookie season, ultimately culminating in a 2018 season in which he only played 577 minutes and scored two goals, both in the same game. However, Akindele’s departure was still emotional and you can clearly see the impact the club and fans had on the Canadian international.
Urruti had not served as long as Akindele, only joining the club in 2016 after leaving Portland. Urruti has always been a streaky player and Dallas attempted to turn him into an every game starter as opposed to a spark off the bench, a role he was typically found in for Portland. The results were ultimately mixed, when Urruti was on, he was genuinely one of the most electric strikers in the league, but unfortunately, he was often off his best game, especially following the departure of Mauro Diaz. But Urruti was always, and still is, a player that will run through walls for whichever club he plays for and I think every fan of this sport can appreciate that.
BEHIND THE SCENES: Luchi Gonzalez’s First Day as Head Coach
Another behind the scenes video, I’m telling y’all, I really love these. The club really started to ramp up the video production game in 2019, you’ll see quite a few videos just from last season due to that. The first is a behind the scenes look at head coach Luchi Gonzalez’s first day as head coach. It is a bit of an interesting situation as Luchi had of course been with the club since 2012, so this was really a behind the scenes of someone stepping into their first day after being promoted as opposed to taking on a whole new job. Luchi is such a great presence on camera as well, it is easy to see why the team decided to do so much that focused on him in 2019.
FC Dallas Players Horrified in First Look at Jersey Options for 2019
One trend I’ve noticed going through the seasons is that there are less goofy videos as time has gone on. That is not really surprising, as MLS has continued to grow and improve, the league itself seems to be trying to take things a little more seriously as it attempts to assert itself among the top leagues worldwide. But there is certainly still room for some goofiness as this video shows.
This is the video that spawned the famous “taco kit”, basically involving the club inviting players in to get their takes on some jersey options for the new away jersey for 2019 to get their feedback. The kits displayed are ridiculous, one featuring a silhouetted cowboy, another with a cartoon Tex Hooper and the final one being the taco kit. The players’ reactions are fun to watch, “horrified” in the video title is a pretty good way to put it!
Dallas Beer Guardians and El Matador Join Forces to Create Tifo for Season Opener
I may be a little biased in my inclusion of this video, full disclosure: I have season tickets in the beer garden, so I really enjoy it when the club covers the supporter’s groups that occupy the beer garden. In this case, the club looked into the behind the scenes of the creation of the opening day tifo for the 2019 season. The creation of those tifos takes a significant amount of time and commitment from the fine folks in the Dallas Beer Guardians and El Matador and the results are always a joy to see.
Go Behind the Scenes of North Texas SC’s Inaugural Game
Other than the hiring of Luchi Gonzalez, the other massive announcement and decision made by the club was the creation of a USL League One team, North Texas SC. After years of having the best academy in MLS but struggling to find playing time for their young players, the club finally invested in a second team in USL and the results were immediate. Lots of young FCD players got quality playing time with NTSC, it was the springboard for Ricardo Pepi to get his homegrown first-team contract and the team was very successful, winning the first-ever USL League One championship in their first year as well as being the best team during the regular season. This video is yet another behind the scenes look, this time at the first game in North Texas SC history.
The Decision that Saved Ryan Hollingshead’s Career After Breaking Neck Two Years Ago
The story of Ryan Hollingshead’s comeback from a devastating neck injury from being struck by a car after stopping to assist a stranded motorist during a Dallas ice storm in early 2017 has been told many times over by this point in time. It seems to be mentioned every time Dallas actually manages to get a nationally televised game, and for good reason. The story is incredibly inspiring and is just incredible in general that Hollingshead was able to play again at all, much less reach the levels that he has since reached. Watching and listening to him recall and retell the story and how it affected him and his family is always touching and impactful.
Carlos Gruezo’s Goodbye Message to FC Dallas Fans
The goodbye message video carried through the 2018 season into the 2019 season when Dallas transferred Ecuadorian defensive midfielder Carlos Gruezo to FC Augsburg for a multi-million dollar fee. Gruezo was an instrumental part of the 2016 team that won two trophies and was an anchor in midfield in his three and a half seasons in Dallas, but from the beginning, it was known that he hoped to use his time in Dallas as a stepping stone to get back to Europe.
Gruezo seems destined to go on to become a regular for a good European team at least and has the potential to be a player at a high-level team if he can continue developing.
Mechanical Bull Riding Fails with Dom and Kobra at Cowboys Red River
I can only imagine how excited the FC Dallas media team were after meeting Zdenek “Kobra” Ondrasek for the first time. The Czech international is an absolute character and is the kind of guy that seems like he is just a joy to be around and hang out with.
Probably the funniest piece of content the club put together in 2019 was this video, in which Kobra and Dom Badji, who became fast friends after Kobra’s arrival before the 2019 season, head to Cowboys Red River to try their hand at mechanical bull riding. You can probably imagine how it goes but it still makes for a fun watch.
The obvious big story when looking at FC Dallas in 2019 was the new head coach Luchi Gonzalez. After 5 highly successful seasons under Oscar Pareja, the club looked for who could take them into the next phase of the club, one that even more highly emphasized youth development and the “play your kids” mantra and looking to not only develop players to play for the first team long term but also developing players to sell them on to Europe at a profit. Early on, names like Tab Ramos and club legend Jason Kreis were rumored but it wasn’t long until the buzz around Luchi picked up and he was hired on as the next head coach.
For the first time since the 2011 season, the FC Dallas media team put together a season-long docuseries covering the club from preseason to postseason called “Year One: The Story of Luchi Gonzalez”. For my money, it is one of the best pieces of the club created media that not only FC Dallas has ever put out, but is up there with the best content I’ve seen produced by any MLS club. You genuinely get a fascinating look behind the scenes with Luchi and his staff and the preparation, the thinking and the planning that they go through week in and week out during the season. This is also set up as a playlist, if you have not watched it, I would strongly recommend it.
A Look Back at FC Dallas’ First Year under Luchi Gonzalez
As a bit of a tandem piece to “Year One”, the club also produced a single 20 minute video covering the year from start to finish. This is essentially an abridged version of “Year One” that has less of a direct focus on Luchi and more of a team focus. It is clear that the club as a whole sees the 2019 season as a potential turning point and one they hope to look back on years down the line and say that 2019 was a significant year in the development of FC Dallas as a club.
PRESEASON 2020 Series
The 2020 MLS season is one that none of us are going to forget any time soon, but there once was a time long ago where the 2020 season was going on like normal and in that short span of time, the club put out some pretty darn good content! The first one up was their preseason series that covered the team on one of their two preseason trips to Tampa, FL in their last gear up before the regular season began. These videos are short, more like little glimpses into one part of the trip as opposed to a broader kind of docuseries. These are all fun to watch and honestly make me a bit sad that the 2020 season got derailed due to COVID-19, the team really seems to have a ton of chemistry with each other, hopefully, when this is all behind us they can pick up where they left off.
Lifelong Season Ticket Member Bert Sanders Shares 25 Years of Memories
The 25th anniversary season has been a big deal for MLS and it has been marketed like crazy, especially since the season shutdown due to COVID-19. As an original MLS club, Dallas has some of the longest and richest history in the league and they interviewed Bert Sanders, a season ticket member from the start who has seen it all. He has a lovely story that connects with his family and is a great reminder of the impact this club and league have had in 25 seasons.
Inside Gameday: FC Dallas vs Philadelphia Union & FC Dallas vs Montreal Impact
For our final entry in this four-part series we return to a familiar theme, the behind the scenes video. For 2020, the FCD media team seemed set to run these “Inside Gameday” videos throughout the season, and hopefully, we get more! There’s nothing groundbreaking here but seeming pre-game preparations, post-game team talks, and how the players and coaches interact is always a fun watch. Hopefully, these aren’t the last of these videos for 2020 and we can all get back to Frisco and watch Los Toros take the field again.
Did I leave off any great videos? Let me know in the comments below!
Thank you for following me through this journey down the memory lane of the FC Dallas YouTube channel!
Featured Image: Joe Nicholson/USA Today Sports