With FC Dallas’ come from behind win against Houston and rivals dropping points around the league, the Supporter’s Shield race is on.
And it’s going to be tight.
FC Dallas has seven MLS games left in their busy schedule. They lead the Supporter’s Shield pack by 5 points. Every point matters from here on out.
Our contributors break down each result in three categories - Must win, Draw is great, or Expect a loss - with some extra commentary to explain why.
How many points will FC Dallas need to win the Supporter’s Shield?
Nathan: Last season, FC Dallas ended with 60 points but got edged out of the Supporter’s Shield on goal differential. Will 60 points be enough this year? Certainly, without a clear dominant force like the New York Red Bulls last year in the East, it seems wide open, but the West is murderous, stacked with teams who are capable of dominating home or away at the drop of a hat. I’ll stick with 60 for now.
Cody: With how far behind the east is, and how even the west is, 60 seems a reasonable number of points to win the Shield. It could be a bit higher or lower but I'll be shocked if a team gets 62 or more this season.
Jason: I think 60 will do it this year. The biggest competition, as of right now, in terms of possible points is still Colorado who if they win out, will get 70 points. (Dallas’ max is 69.) But with how tight things are in the race, 60 really should do it.
Drew: Naturally the easy answer to this is just keep winning and the trophy will come. I’m terrible at math but 60 or 61 seem like a good benchmark for this year’s race.
Saturday, September 3rd
HOME: FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers
Nathan: Must win. Should it go without saying that home games are all must wins? If FC Dallas can win all remaining four home games, they would already meet their goal of 60 points. Anything on the road would be butter.
Cody: Should win. At home you win. That said, a lot of international calls will make it tough and I can see this ending in a draw. They should win though.
Jason: Draw is great. With all the absentees due to WCQ, I’d be OK with a draw here. That win against Houston gives Dallas the breathing space to “drop 2 points”.
Drew: Should win. I’ll always say it but you win your home games no matter what.
Mohammad: Should win. It’s a home match. A candidate for the Shield has to win at home but given the absences I have tempered the expectations for a home result.
Saturday, September 10, 2016
HOME: FC Dallas vs Colorado Rapids
Nathan: Must win. Colorado Rapids have two games in hand on FC Dallas, but they have dipped a bit in recent form. This is a big chance to put a little more distance between the two teams, even with a US Open Cup final looming.
Cody: Must win. It removes Colorado's game in hand. Crucial 6 pointer, a win for Dallas makes them heavy favorites, a loss makes Colorado the favorite.
Jason: Must win. There’s no way around it, if Dallas wants the shield, they must take maximum points from Colorado here.
Drew: Must win. This is a six-pointer in some sense, so you gotta win it.
Mohammad: Must win. Given that it is a home match against the biggest threats to FC Dallas’ winning the league’s best record, I think this is one that you absolutely have to have.
Saturday, September 17, 2016
AWAY: FC Dallas at New York City FC
Nathan: Expect a loss. With a potential for an emotion week, FC Dallas will be coming off its first US Open Cup final in like forever. New York City FC are certainly beatable at home, but this game will probably feature some rotation in the lineup. If FC Dallas loses the Open Cup though, then all bets are off.
Cody: Expect a loss. NYCFC is a good side, and as has been mentioned, fixture congestion will make this harder. Definitely potential for a draw here if they focus on defense.
Jason: Draw is great. Probably won’t happen, but a point here would be a HUGE result. I’d expect a loss, but this team has surprised us.
Drew: Draw is great. NYCFC is an interesting team at home. Some times they are tough to beat but other times they can be stretched and burned like the way the Red Bulls did them earlier this season there. Get a result, move on.
Mohammad: Expect a loss. This is going to be a grueling long week for FC Dallas and NYCFC has been slowly but surely learning how to play in that awful stadium. This is one that I think ends in a negative result for the Hoops.
Saturday, September 24, 2016
AWAY: FC Dallas at Real Salt Lake
Nathan: Draw is great. FC Dallas played Real Salt Lake, at least defensively, not so bad in their last meeting. RSL is also in great form. If it continues, this will be a tough game, but if FC Dallas can eke out a draw on the road, we can talk about it being one of the biggest points of the season.
Cody: Expect a loss. RSL had our number once and are good enough to do it again. Would be chuffed with a draw.
Jason: Expect a loss. Not the year to get points out of Rio Tinto.
Drew: Expect a loss. RSL is tough at home, and as close as the last game was, I wouldn’t put a lot of eggs in this basket.
Mohammad: Expect a loss. This is always a tough place to play and RSL seems to always find a way to snag the points on the road.
Saturday, October 1, 2016
HOME: FC Dallas vs LA Galaxy
Nathan: Must win. These end of year games are all about drama. You can expect LA Galaxy to come in with everything they got, especially if they are still in the race for the Shield. It won’t be easy, but I’ll be looking for Eric Avila type heroics to get a full 3 points for the home team.
Cody: Must win. At home, LA are struggling more lately, and are in a bad spot to win the Shield. Arena will play for a point, Dallas has the ability to break him down.
Jason: Must win. Home games during this last month will be must wins.
Drew: Must win. You’re at home, LA may be reeling even more at this point, you gotta win.
Mohammad: Must win. Given LA’s recent injury woes and sales, FC Dallas needs to get these three points against the Galaxy.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
HOME: FC Dallas vs Seattle Sounders FC
Nathan: Must win. Seattle may or may not be out of playoff contention by this time. (You could argue they already are.) But that’s the danger, right? Seattle won’t have anything to lose and would love to spoil a massive 3 points at home for our hoops. Depending on how other games go, this could be the one to circle on the calendar. A win and FC Dallas may secure their shot at the Shield.
Cody: Must win. Seattle has had a terrible season and are injury prone as well as old. Should be one of the easiest fixtures left for the Hoops.
Jason: Must win. See above.
Drew: Must win. Same as all the other home games.
Mohammad: Must win. Seattle has not been a very good team this year and there is always the chance that this one sneaks up on them, but FC Dallas needs to care of business at home.
Sunday, October 23, 2016
AWAY: FC Dallas at LA Galaxy
Nathan: Expect a loss. My hope is that FCD has locked up their hardware by this time, so they can rest some players in anticipation for the playoffs. If FCD needs points to secure it, I think it will be hard to come by. LA Galaxy, while not impenetrable, are pretty darn good at home.
Cody: Draw is great. LA still have the same issues as before and with playoffs nearing Arena is likely to rest some guys. Dallas can earn a draw or even win here with some luck.
Jason: Draw is great. Dallas has been historically been bad at LA. A point here would be awesome, even if LAG’s been having issues at home.
Drew: Draw is great. Normally I would say this would just be a loss but it is hard to gage where LA is going to be at this point. I say just go with the old nature of win at home and draw on the road.
Mohammad: Draw is great. FC Dallas finds a way to get at least a point in Los Angeles having really learned how to play in a difficult atmosphere.
What’s your final point tally for FC Dallas?
Nathan: 61 points
Cody: 61 points
Jason: 60 points
Drew: 60 points
Mohammad: 61 points