Image: FC Dallas Facebook
The fourth of July game is a special one for many FC Dallas fans. Alongside home openers, it's one of the club's biggest game of the year. The crowd is biggger, the energy is bigger, and in recent years, it's been one of Dallas' most entertaining games to watch. The Independence Day game has seen everything. Former Manchest United and DC United's Wayne Rooney given a red card that was quickly reversed, a 4-0 blowout win against a Kaka led Orlando City, and a last minute goal from Canada's own Tesho Akindele to push Dallas to a win, are just a few of the most memorable moments.
Like the Dallas Cowboys with Thanksgiving, this game is usually held in Frisco, although there are a few games in the past where Dallas was the away squad. Currently Dallas is on a six year win streak for their Independence Day matches and will hope to make it seven tonight.
Fans love the annual game for many reasons. The six year win streak makes it an easy one to look forward to. Even if the results aren't quite favorable, however, many still a reason to love the match. For some it's a great time to bring out of town family members to their first game.
Image: Fan Kind Enough to Take Photo (FC Dallas vs DC United, 2019)
In 2019 I was finally able to bring my cousin to a game. Despite not being a soccer fan, she enjoyed it and we hope to all go to another game together soon. The win was enjoyable but being able to share my love of the game with my family made that match one of my most memorable. It's a sentiment shared by most Dallas fans.
" Bringing the kids to the July 4th match and watching their faces light up when they see their favorite players take the pitch, and then the fireworks after. Been bringing them for years, teens now and they still get just as excited as they did at their first game," - Donna Louise Edwards (when asked why the Fourth of July was special to her)
For others, the tailgates are what they look forward to. The tailgates are always great but there's something about the Fourth of July game that makes it feel even more special.
Image: Hector Quiroga
Tailgates can be found all around Toyota Stadium. The most well known are El Matador's and the Dallas Beer Guardians'. Held in FC Dallas' Blue Parking lot, it's a hard one to miss as their flags and banners adorn the fences. They are side-by-side, allowing fans to move easily between both group and both groups are very welcoming, even to new fans and casual soccer viewers.
Video: FC Dallas via YouTube
Fans' Favorite Memories-
Over the years, Dallas has played some pretty entertaining matches on the Fourth of July. One came in 2018. Dallas faced powerhouse Atlanta United. Despite leading early in the game, Dallas looked like they would suffer a defeat at home as Josef Martinez scored a brace. The game was approaching the end when Oscar Pareja subbed Tesho Akindele on, hoping that the young forward could make a difference.
"Told my friends Tesho is the man to the come off the bench and win the match for us. Then he did came off the bench did so," - Jacob Armando Vasquez
Tesho ended up scoring not one but two goals, pushing Dallas to victory. It's a moment remembered fondly by many. Brandon Heyer recalled that night as well and said that it was most hyped crowd he had been a part of in Toyota Stadium.
Video: Major League Soccer via YouTube
In Dallas' histroyic 2016 season, they easily cruised past Orlando City, in a game that saw former Dallas player, 2011 MVP candate Brek Shea return and an appearance from World Cup winner Kaka. The 4-0 win was a great game that showcased the talent on that squad. Mauro Diaz assisted on two goals. Maxi Urruti got on the scoresheet as well with an assist on a Michael Barrios goal. Defenders Walker Zimmerman and Matt Hedges both scored as well and Fabian Castillo finished the route in the 90th minute with his own goal. (https://www.fcdallas.com/news/match-recap-fc-dallas-4-orlando-city-sc-0)
The most recent Fourth of July game was in 2019. Due to Covid19, Dallas was unable to play a regular season game for Independence Day in 2020. Dallas faced a DC United side that was led by Wayne Rooney and Luiciano Acosta. Dallas won the game 2-0 but it wasn't the scoreline or the goals that made that game memorable.
Early in the game, Rooney fouled Michael Barrios. Referee quickly drew a red card. Before Rooney could head to the locker room, however, the red card was reversed as the play was reviewed on video and he was given a yellow card instead. Later in the game, Luiciano Acosta was ejected after hitting Paxton Pomykal in the face with his studs. (https://www.dallasnews.com/sports/fc-dallas/2019/07/05/fc-dallas-wins-sixth-straight-fourth-of-july-game-with-2-0-win-vs-d-c-united-at-home/)
Dustin Nation recalled the frustration of the players on DC United. In a hurry to leave, they left the stadium without a shower or changing. Rooney declined an interview, opting instead to hurry to the bus.
"I asked him (Rooney) for an interview in the tunnel, but he was super frustrated about the match, said "no, man" and the whole team went straight to the bus without showering or changing," - Dustin Nation
Image: Melanie G. Isbell
Hopefully Dallas will add another win and continue their great Fourth of July streak. Win or lose however, after a year like 2020, most will be happy just to attend and cheer Dallas on.
"Going to FCD on July 4 has been an annual family event for years. I remember sitting amongst the music playing El Matador group one year in the once red seats on the end (before the Hall construction). The great sound of that beat is still in my head," - John Dalton
By Melanie G. Isbell