FC Dallas made us all endure a very long, painful summer drought that saw the team go ten games without a win. It was so bad that the club went from first place to as low as eighth place in the Western Conference standings.
But with the slump behind the team after the last two weeks where they went 1-0-2, the big question we have on our minds is: does this current team still look like a playoff team? Our staff tries to answer that as much as they can:
Jeff Loftin - Sure, why not?
I will not fool myself into thinking that this team will do anything more than disappoint me in the playoffs should they make it. In saying that, I think that we are just as worthy as a team like Houston, San Jose, or RSL. If we were not worthy then we would not be in a position to snatch a playoff spot and control our own destiny. No, the team is not playing well - 3 match unbeaten streak not withstanding. I will say this - maybe just scraping into the playoffs is what the team needed. Get in and it is an entirely new season - win and move on. That has not been the team’s strong suit for the past three months but who knows what could happen if they do get in. I believe...and I am not sure why but I believe.
Nathan Hill - The team has more to prove.
Yes, 5 points in the past three games is a start. It’s an improvement. But there is more work to be done. These last two games will be tough, but points are possible. This team controls its own destiny. Get 6 points, and they are in. Right now, this team is only playoff worthy by being just above the line. I want them to prove it on the field. I want them to show in these final two games that they aren’t limping across the finish line or doing just enough, but they are hungry to prove the ten game winless streak wrong. Can we see that passion? What will it take? Or are they done?
Jason Poon - Maybe
Things are moving in the right direction. 3 straight unbeaten, with just one conceded (though entirely due to the fact that Jesse Gonzalez is not human). The biggest test for me will be how the team responds to Seattle without Mauro Diaz. My hunch is Dallas will get spanked up in Seattle. So to answer the original question whether this team is playoff worth?
Jared Tilley - No
Yes the team has gotten 5 points in the last 3 matches. 4 of those were against a terrible Colorado team. Honestly, if not for Jesse, they wouldn’t have even managed a draw last weekend. The 5th point came against an Orlando team that didn’t even start their best player. Again, if not for Jesse, they wouldn’t have gotten a point there either. As the team continues to try hold on for dear life defensively, the well has run completely dry offensively. Against good defenses, FCD has no teeth going forward. I expect that trend to continue and thus prove that this team isn’t playoff worthy.
Drew Epperley - They’re still too Jekyll and Hyde for me
This season has been such a roller coaster from the strong start to the season, to the slump, to where are now. In this season we’ve learned how quick this group and be hot and cold. We want them to be hot right now but the five points in their last three matches isn’t enough to convince me just yet. If they pull off a win in Seattle on Sunday, then I’ll be a full believer.
El Chico Carmona - Obviously
I have to point out some obvious things before we begin. First, FCD has 1 win in their last 13 matches played. Second, I’m not gonna bother with the math, but FCD has allowed a shit ton of goals on the road during that time span. So, believe when I tell you that the last 3 matches have all been excellent results for FCD.
Some of you believe FCD should have won two of those road draws, but you are fooling yourself, because FCD should have lost both of those matches. The fact that FCD did not lose those two matches, and won the 3rd, can be credited to a return to form by the FCD defense. While everyone is fretting about the sputtering attack, I have to be the one to remind you that defense wins matches. All you have to do, is look at Seattle’s run to the MLS Cup last year. While everybody was busy gushing over Lodeiro, they forgot that it was the Seattle defense that shut down Toronto FC.
A return to form for FCDs defense, is why this team is a Playoff team. Jesse is playing lights out at the moment, and Hedges is back to his old reliable self. That’s all this team really needs. While everyone is calling the upcoming Seattle match a must win, it is actually a must draw. That’s right, a draw at Seattle, and a win at home against LAG, should be all that FCD needs to get in as the 6th seed. Yes, I know FCD needs other results to go their way, but that’s the position they placed themselves in with their summer swoon. It doesn’t mean their not a playoff team, it just means that they’re not an MLS Cup favorite.
We all know that all you need to do is get into the playoffs. FCD will get 4 points, make the playoffs, and be a huge underdog once the playoffs start. Last time I looked, being a favorite hasn’t worked out too good for this team. FCD used to thrive being an underdog, and that’s exactly where they’ll find themselves in these final weeks. Obviously, I wouldn’t want it any other way.