We're at the end of the month, which normally brings a look at the next month ahead on the calendar. We're going to get into that in a moment but given how we're at October, the final month of the season, it means we need to look a little deeper into what FC Dallas has to do here to get a good spot in the playoffs.
Five games remain. Just five or 15 points for those keeping score at home. Currently FCD is sitting in third place in the Western Conference with a game-in-hand everyone in the conference, or two games on some clubs. That information is so key as the final push for the playoffs begin.
FCD has three home games this month, along with a home-and-home series with Vancouver. We know that a win this weekend along with a San Jose loss or draw gets FCD into the post season. That much is step one. Step two will be winning these three home games and finding a way to pick up points on the road.
Houston Dynamo - home - October 4 (4:00 pm)
Up first this month is a big one with rivals Houston in the final meeting of the regular season with them. So far FCD is 2-0-0 against the Bayou rivals with a big 6-2 goal differential. Houston hasn't seen a ton of success on the road this season and have been fairly inconsistent.
Vancouver Whitecaps - away - October 7 (9:00 pm)
The first of two Vancouver games is also the first of two midweek games for the month. It is strange that we cap off the season with a month that has two Sunday games and two Wednesday games but I digress. These two games with Vancouver are likely going to be the difference between a top two seed, possibly the Supporters' Shield or a third place finish.
Vancouver Whitecaps - home - October 14 (8:00 pm)
The following Wednesday is the return match with the Caps. Vancouver is also struggling right now as we speak, losing three of their last six games. Again, this is a home game that has to be a win for a lot of good things to happen here.
Real Salt Lake - away - October 17 (8:30 pm)
This one is possibly more intriguing than most will realize going into it. By the time we get to this point, we'll know more about RSL and whether or not they will be in the playoff contention still or eliminated. Currently they are six points from the red line, meaning if they don't win their next two games before they play this one against FCD, they'll probably be toast. Also, they have an important CCL match with Municipal three days after this match, one that could decide their group.
San Jose Earthquakes - home - October 25 (6:00 pm)
Decision Sunday in MLS will be a big deal this year. By this point we will know whether or not San Jose has anything left to play for or if FCD still has a shot at the Shield. Right now the Quakes are one point away from a playoff spot but they don't have the games-in-hand that other clubs around them do.
On paper, this schedule looks extremely doable for this club to get a lot of points from. But we know that the game isn't played on paper and anything is possible in this league. Nine points from the three home games is a must in my opinion and that should get FCD into one of the two top seeds in the West. Its possible that two wins will even be enough for that but I'd rather get all nine from the home games to be safe. Outside of that, going to Vancouver and RSL isn't terrible.
Say they get a draw in one of those two games along with the wins at home, that is 10 more points. That may be enough for a Supporters' Shield. I still think that they focus on getting in this weekend, then locking up a top two seed after that. My stance continues to be that if they get the Shield, great. If not, they'll still be much further along than I expected them to be at the start of the season.
What do you think will happen in October? Is it reasonable to think they can get 10 points? Or should we only expect five to seven?