Jun 23, 2012; Frisco, TX, USA; FC Dallas midfielder Brek Shea (20) kicks the ball past Chivas USA defender Ante Jazic (13) during the first half at FC Dallas Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE
The last month or so has been a nice breather for FC Dallas. While they didn't win a game off the field, they've returned Brek Shea to full fitness and expect to have David Ferreira back on Wednesday. The calm before the storm is over and on Wednesday night, FCD begins a 4 games in 25 days stretch that will define the season and let us know whether August, September and October are a mere formality or if there are still big things left for this team.
July 4 vs Toronto FC - 8PM FC Dallas Stadium (FSSW+)
There is no doubt TFC have been much improved since switching managers as they've lost just once in their last six matches. However, Wednesday's match will be Toronto's 5th in the last 20 days and there's really no excuses for this one. If you have playoff aspirations, this is a game you must win.
July 7 vs San Jose Earthquakes - 8PM FC Dallas Stadium (FSSW)
A very tough game on Saturday on short rest(though San Jose plays in Portland midweek) against the current top dog in MLS. San Jose has been fantastic this season including some impressive road performances. This is going to be a very tough game for Dallas, but should they win on Wednesday this could be a game where you make a statement to the rest of the league that you mean business. This will be San Jose's 6th game in the last three weeks so hopefully they'll get a tired Earthquakes squad looking ahead to their home showdown with RSL the following weekend.
July 14 at Colorado Rapids - 8PM Dick's Sporting Goods Park (TXA 21)
Another absolutely enormous match against a Rapids team that FCD sits eight points behind for the final playoff spot. Should Dallas lose this game, things get very very difficult going forward though FCD has found success at DSG park in the past.
July 18 at San Jose - 10PM Buck Shaw Stadium (NBC Sports Network)
Probably the toughest game of the month, FCD quickly travels from Colorado to San Jose for another game against the current MLS leaders. This is probably one you write off as a match where points aren't really expected, but considering how many points Dallas has dropped against teams you wouldn't expect, every game is crucially important.
July 21 vs Portland Timbers - 8PM FC Dallas Stadium (TXA 21)
Simply put, Dallas needs to get at least 10 points from their four home games in the month and this is one that you really have to get three points from. Portland is currently just above Dallas for last place in the Western Conference and they've been pretty terrible on their road travels this season. FCD should've won the first affair between the teams way back in March and they tend to match up pretty well against a Timbers squad that may have a new coach by July 21.
July 28 vs Los Angeles - 7PM FC Dallas Stadium (NBC Sports Network)
Should Dallas make a run through the first part of the month, what better way to declare to everyone that you're back than a Saturday night primetime marquee showdown against the champions in front of what should be a sold out crowd. Whether or not Beckham is there, with the Olympics starting the day before, remains to be seen, but the month of July starts with a bang and ends with a bang.
Realistically, I think you need at least 12 points from these 6 games to stay in serious playoff contention. If FCD is on 26 points with 11 games to play, you're looking at 19-22 points needed to make a playoff spot which isn't impossible from 11 games.