FC Dallas clinched a playoff spot almost three weeks ago with a draw in Portland, but there’s still a great deal of uncertainty around when they’ll enter the postseason tournament, whom they’ll play, or where they’ll play them. Here are the 8 potential scenarios based on FC Dallas’s results at home against Sporting Kansas City and at Colorado on Decision Day.
FC Dallas wins both:
This one is straightforward. FC Dallas finishes with a club record 63 points, wins the West, clinches home field advantage throughout the Conference playoffs, and would host MLS Cup provided New York Red Bulls or Atlanta United FC failed to advance.
FC Dallas wins against SKC, Draws COL:
FC Dallas still finishes with a club record 61 points, and they put themselves out of reach in the West for everyone but LAFC. They would clinch the 1st seed in this scenario if LAFC loses to Vancouver this weekend, but with a win against Spork, the only way LAFC would leapfrog Dallas is with a win this weekend and a win next weekend in Kansas City. FC Dallas would still host MLS Cup provided New York Red Bulls or Atlanta United FC failed to advance.
FC Dallas wins against SKC, Loses to COL:
FC Dallas ties the club record 60 points, and Oscar Pareja becomes the 1st manager in MLS history to steer his club to three 60 point seasons. This scenario is exactly like the previous outcome except that LAFC would have to lose in Kansas City for FC Dallas to win the West as LAFC would almost assuredly win the goal difference tiebreaker to earn the top spot.
FC Dallas draws against SKC, Wins against COL:
Another group of results in a club record 61 points, FCD still end up with a bye and either Spork or LAFC host a first round match two weeks from today.
FC Dallas draws against SKC, Loses against COL:
One point from the last two games significantly changes the possibilities. A first round bye is still possible, but would require SKC to lose next week and Seattle to lose one of their final two matches. FC Dallas would clinch a home playoff date in the first round (most likely against RSL or Portland), and would have to play two games the week after the regular season ends. If FC Dallas were able to make a run, they could end up playing MLS Cup at Yankee Stadium if NYCFC are able to win out. NYCFC could be a tough out in the playoffs.
FC Dallas loses against SKC, Draws against COL:
Say goodbye to the bye. It bears mentioning that Seattle’s got to go on the road again this weekend against a fresh, albeit lackluster, Houston team, and NYCFC’s closing dates are on the road against DC (who clinch with a win) and at home against the Philadelphia Union.
FC Dallas loses both:
Dire. With these outcomes, there’s a strong chance we open the playoffs on the road. Seattle would need four points from their last two (their other match is at home against San Jose). Portland would need three points at home against a tired RSL side and a win at Vancouver which likely will be eliminated by then. This would be quite a slide.
FC Dallas draws both:
You’ve probably caught on to the fact it’s important that FC Dallas do not lose this weekend. A pair of draws keeps the first round bye in play, albeit tenuously. Seattle has to close perfectly to top FCD for third, and NYCFC has to close perfectly to host a hypothetical NYCFC-FCD MLS Cup.
In short, if FC Dallas wins this weekend, they know they’ll open the playoffs with a bye and a road trip to open the playoffs against a team that’s played thrice in a week. If FC Dallas fails to win this weekend, they could fall anywhere from top seed to 5th with control of their destiny somewhat out of their hands depending on how they fare in Colorado. Hopefully, Spork is tired after the trip to British Columbia.