FC Dallas is one of the premier soccer clubs currently playing in the MLS. Starting in the MLS’ inaugural in 1996, there has been a soccer club residing in Dallas.
Originally named the Dallas Burn, the club won its first game on April 14, 1996 against the San Jose Clash in a shootout. The Burn played their home games at the Cotton Bowl, and was originally owned by the league. The Burn made their first playoff appearance in their first season, with a 17-15 record and finishing second behind the LA Galaxy.
The Burn were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round against the Kansas City Wizards in a best of three match up, losing the final game at home 3-2 in a shootout.
In their second season the Burn again made the playoffs, but ultimately lost to the Colorado Rapids in the Western Conference finals. Later that year, The Burn hoisted their first U.S. Open Cup after defeating the MLS champion D.C. United.
In 1999, the Burn’s Jason Kreis won the league MVP with his 15 goals and 15 assists. The team made it once again to the Western Conference finals, but were ousted by the Galaxy. Following the season, and despite making the playoffs for five straight seasons, The Burn fired their first head coach Dave Dir in October of 2000.
In January of 2001, the club introduced its new head coach in Mike Jeffries. Before joining the Burn, Jeffries had won two U.S. Open Cups and the 1998 MLS Cup with the Chicago Fire. Again, the Burn had a successful season and made the playoffs, but lost in the quarterfinals to the Fire.
In 2002, the Burn finished the season 12-9-7 and third in the Western Conference. The Burn remained one of the two teams left in the league to make the playoffs in all six seasons of the MLS. Kreis reached a milestone during the 2002 season, becoming just the second player in league history with 60 goals and 60 assists.
In 2003, the Burn snapped their six-season streak of consecutive playoff appearances, after finishing the year 6-19-5. The Burn moved their home games to Dragon football stadium in Southlake, a suburb in Tarrant County. The offense was the main issue for the Burn in 2003, as the club set a new record low with just 35 goals scored. In 22 of their 30 games, the team scored one goal or less. The Burn became just the second team in MLS history that season to not record consecutive wins or ties for an entire season.
In their final season as the Dallas Burn, the team returned to their original home at the Cotton Bowl. Unfortunately, the team did not qualify for the playoffs once again, finishing the season 10-14-6. The team finished with 36 points, improving from their disappointing 23 point performance in 2003. The reason for the teams turnaround, albeit minor, was the improvement on the defensive end. The team yielded 64 goals in 2003, but only allowed 45 in 2004. Although the team did not make the playoffs, they did have one highlight for the year. On June 26, 2004, the Burns Kreis became MLS’ all-time leading scorer with his 91st career goal against D.C. United. Later that year, Kreis was traded to the expantion team Real Salt Lake.
The 2005 season brought in a new era for the Dallas soccer franchise. The team not only got new ownership after the Hunt family purchased the team, but also became known as FC Dallas and received just the third soccer specific stadium in the MLS when it moved into Pizza Hut Park (now Toyota Stadium). The club finished second in the Western Conference with a 13-10-9 record and qualified for the playoffs for the first time in two seasons. The club celebrated its first ever victory at home with a semifinal victory over the Fire. The club was eliminated however in the final by the Galaxy, and then knocked out of the Western Conference finals by the Rapids once again.
The 2006 season saw the franchise reach new heights. The club finished 16-12-4, scoring its highest point total to date with 52 and earning the top spot in the Western Conference. The club formed an exclusive partnership with the Mexican First Division club Tigres de la Universidad Autonoma de Nueva Leon and Clube Atletico Paranaense of Brazil’s Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A. Dallas was once again knocked out by the Rapids in the playoffs on penalties for the second year in a row.
The 2007 season started with another coaching change, as Steve Morrow filled the role left behind by Colin Clarke. Morrow and Dallas lead the Western Conference for much of the first half of the season, winning six of their first ten games, but after the All Star break the team was only able to win five matches. The club finished 13-12-5 and finished third in the Western Conference. In the playoffs, the team was knocked out by in their in state rival Houston Dynamo, who to add salt to their wounds were the eventual champions.
2008 was a forgettable season for Dallas, as they went 8-10-12. The poor season lead to the firing of Morrow as their head coach after just one season. The team hired longtime Southern Methodist head coach Schellas Hyndman to replace Morrow. Although the team had a down year, there was a new fan favorite in town. Kenny Cooper scored 18 goals, named to the best XI and was named the MLS comeback player of the year.
In 2009 the club would miss the playoffs for a second straight year, but Hyndman was given more time as head coach due to the apparent rebuild. The team finished 11-13-6 and finished 7th in the Western Conference. The club also lost their star offensive player as they transferred Cooper to 1860 Munich. The club was an offensive machine in 2009, leading the league in scoring with 50 goals but their downside was defense. Just as easily as they could score them, the club allowed just as many goals against. The defense gave up 49 goals in 30 matches.
2010 was the best year the club had since its inception. Dallas finished 12-4-14 and finished third in the Western Conference. The club would make the playoffs for the first time since 2007, and played in their first MLS Cup final in team history. Dallas was lead by MLS MVP David Ferreira who led the team with 13 assists. The club defeated Western Conference favorites the Galaxy in the Western Conference finals that season, before ultimately losing another heartbreaking match up against the Rapids in the finals.
After making the MLS Cup finals, Dallas had high hopes for the 2011 season. Unfortunately, the team lost the league MVP in Ferreira early in the season due to injury. Good news for Dallas, though, was they were able to see their young player Brek Shea shine with the professional club. Shea was an MVP finalist and was voted as an MLS best XI player. The club was knocked out in the wild card round, and was unable to repeat their success from the season prior. The saddest moment for the team was when long time player and fan favorite Bobby Rhine died suddenly of a heart attack on Sept. 5. The club honored Rhine with a moment of silence during a match versus New York, and wore black armbands for the remainder of the season.
In 2012, Dallas saw an end to their most successful run in club history by missing the playoffs. The team missed the playoffs for the first time since 2009, finishing the season 9-13-12. On June 27, the club announced its partnership with Advocare the first shirt sponsor in club history.
The 2013 season saw major changes for the Dallas club. After starting the season 8-2-3, the club finished 11-12-11 and finished eighth in the Western Conference. Hyndman resigned from his role as head coach and the 2010 MVP Ferreira was released signaling major change for the club. The club did see a major youth movement shine through, as homegrown talent like Kellyn Acosta made their way to the big stage. The club also signed a deal to rename their stadium to Toyota Stadium, and set attendance records for the year.
In 2014 the club signed its new and current head Oscar Pareja to run the team. Under Pareja, the team finished fourth in the Western Conference with a 16-12-6 record. Dallas made it to the semi finals, before losing to the Seattle Sounders. The club was lead in scoring by Blas Perez and Fabian Castillo with 14 goals apiece. Tesho Akindele scored a hat trick for Dallas in a 5-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes.
2015 was a celebration of the 20th year of the MLS in Dallas. The club finished its season 18-6-10 and making it to the Western Conference finals before losing to the Portland Timbers. The Club also made it to the fifth round of the US Cup before losing to Sporting Kansas City.
Dallas achieved its highest level of success in the 2016 season. The club finished 17-9-8 but lost to the Sounders in the Western Conference Semi Finals. The club did however win the Supporters Shield and the U.S. Open Cup for the first time in club history. Matt Hedges was named defender of the year and was named to the MLS Best XI with fellow teammate Mauro Diaz.
Again like previous years of success, the team could not repeat its fortunes the following season. After wining the Supporters Shield and U.S. Open Cup in 2016, Dallas failed to make the playoffs in 2017. The club finished seventh in the Western Conference with a 11-10-13 record and missing out on the playoffs. What doomed the club was a stretch late in the season where the club went ten consecutive games without a victory. The club was knocked out in the U.S. Open quarterfinals against Sporting Kansas City, and was unable to repeat as champions.