FC Dallas Plummets To A New Low With Embarrassing Defeat To Tauro FC

Tauro shocked Dallas in the CCL Round of 16, advancing on away goals after a 3-3 aggregate score.

On paper, this is one of the more shocking upsets you’ll ever see in the CONCACAF Champions League. FC Dallas joined the Colorado Rapids as victims of the CCL Round of 16, leaving just Seattle and NYRB as the only remaining American representatives. But while Colorado’s defeat to Toronto FC was widely expected, Dallas’ plummet from grace continues to be a free fall.

The 2016 MLS Supporters’ Shield and U.S. Open Cup champions collapsed during the second half of the 2017 season, winning only two of their final 15 matches to miss the playoffs completely, and their horrid run of form continued in CCL play on Wednesday night.

Perhaps there’s no greater barometer of the club’s current malaise than contrasting last year’s showing in the CCL to this time around. Last season, they reached the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Pachuca in heartbreaking fashion, 4-3 on aggregate.

This year, they fell at the first hurdle to a side that’s currently eighth in the 10-team Liga Panamena de Futbol. Tauro did win the 2017 Clausura season and played well in the 2017 Apertura, but this is a club that’s almost entirely built with domestic talent, and they’re certainly not the Panama national team in disguise.

CONCACAF mad lads will perhaps recognize captain Edwin Aguilar (33 caps and 10 goals for Panama) and midfielder Marcos Sanchez (33 caps and two goals), but that’s really it. 

Meanwhile, Dallas attacked the 1-0 first leg deficit with a forward pairing of Argentine Maximiliano Urruti and Colombian Michael Barrios. Argentine attacking midfielder Mauro Diaz (whose 2017 salary of nearly $900K is probably more than the entire Tauro wage bill) was tucked in behind.

Also on show was Swiss international Reto Ziegler, Ecuadorian international Carlos Gruezo, USMNT defender Matt Hedges and the much-hyped 22-year-old goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez.     

Aguilar opened the scoring for Tauro in the 15th minute, and they never looked back.

It’s an embarrassing result for MLS, with the only silver lining being that Tauro must now play Club America in the quarterfinals. Based on the evidence here — and America’s 6-2 aggregate victory over Saprissa — Dallas would’ve gotten slaughtered at the Estadio Azteca (and Toyota Stadium would’ve almost certainly been transformed into another home match for America).

Dallas must now recover for their 2018 MLS home opener against Real Salt Lake on Saturday. With four straight home matches to start the season, the pressure will be on head coach Oscar Pareja to deliver.

“I am responsible because I’m responsible for the program,” Pareja said after the upset. “I knew from the first moment I took this job, that I need to overcome and keep pushing forward. That is what I have to do as a leader. If I don’t see a response from the players on the field, I will be the first one to step aside, but I see the response of people trying to do the right things.”

The CCL Round of 16 wraps up Thursday night with the Seattle Sounders looking to overturn a 2-1 deficit against Salvadoran club Santa Tecla FC at CenturyLink Field, and New York Red Bulls welcome Honduran side Olympia to Red Bull Arena with the score level at 1-1 following the first leg.

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