FC Dallas: Playing For MLS Cup, What a Difference a Defense Makes

Last year, FC Dallas scored the most goals in Major League Soccer (50), yet they also gave up the most goals in the league (47). All that offensive firepower couldn’t save them as they finished a point shy of the playoffs.

The team realized its awful weakness, and credit to them, they addressed the problem.

In 2010, Dallas gave up 28 goals, as only two teams conceded fewer in MLS. (Los Angeles and Real Salt Lake, fittingly the two teams that finished ahead of them in the Western Conference standings). What a difference having a defense has made, as Dallas shut out the offensively-potent Galaxy en route to reaching the MLS Cup.

The pieces to fixing the defense were put in place last season, as all four starters on the backline were all 2009 acquisitions. So what was different in 2010?

Well, for starters, they all were actually available for the full season.

Left-fullback Jair Benitez wasn’t signed until July 22 and...

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