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Even With Dirk In Attendance, FC Dallas Tumbles Out Of CONCACAF Champions League

FC Dallas' 3-0 defeat to Toronto FC in the CONCACAF Champions League was the final nail in a long and troubling season.

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Even with NBA champion Dirk Nowitzki in attendance for his first game in Pizza Hut Park, FC Dallas went down 3-0 versus Toronto FC on Tuesday night and it cost them a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League knockout round. Instead of having Dirk wearing his red and white FC Dallas shirt, maybe former Southern Methodist University coach Schellas Hyndman should've put Dirk in between the pipes.

In the 28th minute, Toronto FC scored when a Dallas free kick was cleared out of the area to Joao Plata and Julian De Guzman. Plata deked his defender and centered a ball to Danny Koevermans who scored after his initial attempt deflected right back to him. Plata then decided to get into the scoring action as two counter attacks in the 69th and the 81st minute past Kevin Hartman was the nail in the coffin. 

A tough way to end the season for Dallas as their play in the CCL was deemed inspiring. They became the first U.S. team to go unbeaten in its first five Champions League matches, they were also the first MLS side to defeat a Mexican opponent in Mexico when it defeated Pumas UNAM 1-0 on Aug. 17. For all their initial glory, their struggles in the group stage reflected the struggles the club had all season.

Per ESPN's Buzz Carrick, FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman on if qualifying for the Championship Stage of the tournament makes up for missing playoffs:

When we started off in January, our goal was to qualify for the playoffs. When I came, that was very difficult because we did not have a good roster. About three months ago we traded a lot of players to get better quality guys and get guys who really wanted to be a part of it. From that moment on you could see, even in training, the improvement of the players. Another goal of ours was to win the Nutrilite Canadian Championship, and by doing that we qualified for CONCACAF Champions League. If you watch all of the games we have played in CONCACAF, I think we have earned it and fought for it.

Also, here's Dirk on Brek Shea. Could Brek be headed to the Bundesliga?

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.