FC Dallas kicked off the 2024 season in style with a dramatic late winner to claim a 2-1 victory over San Jose. This week, let’s run a little wild and overreact to the season opening win.

Asier Illarramendi is an MLS Best XI midfielder

The veteran Basque midfielder has been nothing but class since joining Dallas last summer and that continued into the first game of the season, in which he put on a man of the match performance, scoring his first MLS goal that ended up going up for MLS Goal of the Week. His statline underscores his quality: 90 touches, 89% passing, 3 chances created, 13 passes into the final third, 100% tackle, 5/8 on duels, 2 interceptions and 14 recoveries. His quality on the ball combined with his pitch awareness and game reading makes him an absolutely elite player in MLS. In addition to all of that, even at 33 years old, he is incredibly fit and covered more ground than any other FCD player in the game. If Dallas is able to keep him fit and healthy over the course of the season and not burn him out with the grind of MLS, Illarra should be in the MLS Best XI.

Logan Farrington is the real deal

With Petar Musa still out of the country getting his visa squared away and not available for the season opener, the starting striker role fell to rookie Logan Farrington. Short of getting on the score sheet, it would be hard to imagine a better debut for the big man out of Oregon State. Farrington looked completely unphased by the physicality of MLS and, without knowing he was a rookie, I can’t imagine anyone picking him out as a player making his professional debut. He ended up getting off 6 shots, putting 2 on target, went 2/4 on dribbles and made 8 passes into the final third. There’s obviously some work to be done, his duel rate wasn’t fantastic and he did blow one golden opportunity where he just couldn’t make good connection with the ball but we’re talking about a SuperDraft pick in 2024! Just the fact that he started the game is noteworthy in and of itself, much less the quality he showed both on and off the ball. With Musa now in the country and training, Farrington’s time as the starter is probably coming to a close, but there’s no doubt he is going to play a bunch of minutes in his rookie season. He is going to be very exciting to watch over the coming months and years.

FC Dallas is fun again!

Against San Jose, Dallas recorded 21 shots. Without context, this feels like a pretty healthy number but nothing overly crazy. However, it was a whole 4 shots more than Dallas’ season high from 2023, a pretty shocking statistic that really tells the tale of just how dour the Burn’s play going forward became in 2023. In the season opener, it was like opening the blinds on a sunny day and letting some light in, Dallas’ attacking play was really fun to watch as they were able to consistently generate chances throughout the game and also took a number of shots from outside the box, something they felt extremely hesitant to do in the past few seasons. Sam Junqua’s corner deliveries were also excellent throughout the night and corners and free kicks routinely felt dangerous, something that was rarely felt in 2023.

And they did all this without any of their DPs! Alan Velasco is obviously out for the long haul but it is very encouraging to see this kind of attacking play without Jesus Ferreira or Petar Musa. In 2022 and 2023, playing without Ferreira felt like a death knell with the best the club could hope for being a draw. This didn’t at all feel like the case on Saturday night and it is really exciting to think about what the team might look like going forward once Ferreira and Musa are fully involved.

What are your thoughts on FC Dallas following the season opener? Do you agree with my overreactions or am I going too far? Let me know in the comments below!

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