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Roadmap: How FC Dallas can still make the playoffs

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Points are so vital now.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at FC Dallas Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Here we are again. Another match and another feeling of disappointment. The streak has now reached a total of nine games without a win. This team is on verge of a complete meltdown (honestly, they are probably in the midst of one, but I refuse to admit it).

The most frustrating part of all of this is that under normal circumstances, a draw against Seattle isn’t a terrible result. A point against a playoff contender, no matter where it’s being played is still a point. However, when you are chasing points that should have already been put in the bag, it intensifies the situation.

There are only six games left in the regular season and is it stands right now, FC Dallas is on the outside looking in at the playoffs. With the current state of the team as well as their placement in the standings, I went and looked up what would be needed to get into the playoffs. I took the last five years, averaging all the numbers to figure out what has be to done over these last six matches. The two main numbers to keep in mind right now are FC Dallas current points, 38 and their PPG (points per game) which is dropped to 1.36.

The target line for points looks to be right around 48 points. The average 6th place finisher in both conferences over the last five years comes out to be around 48.3 points. Keep in mind that is the average. There have been a couple of years where the Western Conference team needed 51 points to get in. Luckily, this year looks like that the 6th place team won’t need to hit that number.

Looking at the three teams ahead of us right now, we would need to realistically catch two of them. The easy guess would be RSL. They are currently sitting on 38 points but have played two more games than us. If they continue their current PPG trend, they will finish with 42.08 points. With RSL out of the way, that means there will be a three team hunt between San Jose, Houston and FCD for the last two positions. San Jose is sitting on 39 points, having played one more game, while FCD and Houston are both sitting 38. If San Jose finishes their season with their current PPG trend, they will finish with 45.7 points whereas FC Dallas and Houston will have 46.16.

The line is suddenly that tight. We can not afford to drop many more points. We would need at least 8 points over our last six matches to sneak into the playoffs. The one silver lining here is that FC Dallas schedules is fairly easily (considering) coming down the stretch.

Taking a look at the comparison of the four teams and strength of schedule in the sprint to the finish, FC Dallas has the easiest schedule (This doesn’t take in effect current form of of the teams, but total points of the opposing teams). FCD’s remaining opponents (Minn., Colorado, Seattle, Orlando, Colorado, LAG) have an average point total of 31.67 points. That is going to be slightly better than RSL’s (Seattle, Colorado, LAG, SKC) at 35.25 and San Jose’s (DCU, Chicago, Portland, Vancouver, Minn) at 38.8 points. Houston (NYCFC, Minnesota, SKC, SKC, LAG, Chicago) definitely has the hardest run in with an average opponent point total of 40.5 points.

My biggest concern going forward is that FCD only has two more home games left. They play Colorado here next Wednesday and LAG on the final day of the season. That last game could be huge, so playing it at home is a definite plus. However, if we aren’t able to muster any points up to that point, it’s probably not going to matter much.

Lastly, let’s breakdown what we need out of the remaining matches to make sure we are ahead of that read line. Again, remember, FCD’s goal should be right at 48 points, meaning that we need to pick up at least 8 points in the next 6 matches. That can look any number of ways, 3 wins/3 losses and we are probably in. 2 wins/2 draws/2 losses we should be good. 1 Win/5 draws and we are still good (that would be brutal though). I honestly think the easiest way into the playoffs is going to be 2 wins, 2 draws and 2 loss. That would probably play out with 2 the wins being against Colorado and LAG at home, 2 draws being against Colorado and Minnesota on the road and 2 losses being against Seattle and Orlando on the road. If that happens, we should be money. Yes, that scenario does mean we would have to win on the last day of the season, but we will worry about that headache as it approaches.

As I’ve gone through all the numbers and looked at the cluster of four teams fighting for those last two spots, I can’t help but feel confident that we will sneak in. This team hasn’t had a lot of results go their way lately, but surely that has to end soon. Until, they are mathematically eliminated, I still believe they can do it. The evidence is there, the way is mapped out for them, the only thing missing is their ability to finish this thing.

FC Dallas has the team to capture 12 out of the last 15 total points. Are they going to be able to do it? Busca la Forma boys!!