While Europe has long been considered the home of “Major League Football” and South America has often hosted teams that were nothing short of Futbol dynasties, The Great 48 has been picking up steam when up it comes to not only the quality of play we can display here, but in the enthusiasm of the supporters (aka “fans” for the uninitiated) that loyally follow the clubs they often will to victory.

In recent years, Texas has been the home to two of the MLS’s best teams. The Dynamo of Houstonhave been perennial contenders that took home the MLS Cup as the league’s champion in both 2006 and 2007 (after entering the league in 2005, which makes the back-to-back titles even more impressive). As for the Frisco-based FC Dallas (formerly the Dallas Burn), they were a sad, “own-goal” away from being crowned champions this past season when they lost a heart-breaker to the Colorado Rapids.

Perhaps even more impressive than the on-field credentials that each team has built is the devotion and organization of the folks that support each team for each home-game (not to mention many road-games). Whether it’s the Texian Army in support of The Dynamo, or The Inferno in support of FC Dallas, each group makes clear their intentions to any who may wonder: To fully and vocally encourage their team at all times throughout the 90 minutes of each game.

By organizing pre-game tailgate parties that often end with a coordinated group “march to the match,” these fans are showing all others what it’s like to really be a supporter in far more than name only.

Chants? Check. Group Songs? Check. Coordinated color clothing? Check.

Such details are common-place in Europe and other soccer hotbeds, but here in the states, outside of a few college football-crazy spots, such obvious fanaticism has withered away from our professional sports landscape as many of the prices to attend events have made it so that the average fan is unable to attend regularly. With both Houston and Dallas, strides are made to include fans of all tax-brackets. Cheap to free parking, regular ticket-discounting programs and even drink specials make it easier for people to come equipped and ready to support their favorite squad.

For information on both the teams and the official supporter groups, see below:

Houston Dynamo:

FC Dallas:

81810872RY016_Kansas_City_WFC Dallas played their first preseason game last week in Houston versus the Dynamo. They were beaten 3-0, and all three goals came from the flanks. The Hoops gave up 31 goals last year on the flanks, so this constitutes a worrying trend. Manager Schellas Hyndman has looked to address this problem in the offseason, but this is still a work in progress.

On Monday the Dynamo visited Pizza Hut Park for the second leg of this preseason tilt. This time FC Dallas managed a scoreless draw against their superior southern rivals. Both teams had plenty of scoring chances today, but the finishing for both sides was lacking. Hoops newcomer Dave van den Bergh was active, but his corners were suspect. If FC Dallas is going to be better on the flanks this year they need Van den Bergh to be good.

Keep watching for more action later this week as the Dynamo play the Beckham-less Galaxy on Thursday and FCD has home field advantage Saturday against University of Memphis, a hotbed of soccer talent.