The 2020 season is quickly coming to a close here as FC Dallas has four games left. Even in a weird year like this one, the playoffs are still a possibility as the club currently sits at 6th place in the Western Conference.
But the team hasn’t looked like a playoff team for the last few weeks, so we have to ask the obvious question, does this squad have what it takes to make a playoff run if they get in?
Jason Poon - Maybe
It’s single elimination, meaning just about anything is possible. Dallas did go on a three game winning streak and looked unbeatable during that stretch. If they can capture that form again, I don’t see why not? And by “form”, I mean they need Franco Jara to get hot again. Last year it was Zdenek Ondrasek who got hot and pushed Dallas into the playoffs with something like 7 goals in 7 starts or something. Jara can do that, or rather, he should be able to do that.
Nathan Hill - I’m leaning toward no
It’s not that this team isn’t capable of putting together some things, but it’s been slim pickings over the past several games. And in the most recent win, the team needed a solid if slightly controversial call from the ref to preserve the three points. FC Dallas has benefited from other teams in the Western Conference struggling more than the boys from Frisco, but some of those teams are trying to mount a late season push for a playoff spot themselves. As I mention in my Workhorse piece, there are simple too many questions lingering, and it hasn’t looked like they just need a couple of bounces to go their way. This team needs a whole preseason together to build chemistry and figure out an identity that works.
Scott Hiney – Depends on which version of this team shows up
I know this sort of skirts around the question, but this team is precisely where they are in the table due to just how good they can be and how bad they can be. To this point, they’ve been both versions about half of the time, but if they decide to turn into the team we saw take 14 out of a possible 18 points in the early portion of September — then yes.
However, if the version of this team that completely falls flat on offense and makes poor decisions defensively — like the team that’s taken just six points out of a possible 21 points over their last seven games, then definitely not.
Young teams lack consistency, but it seems that the veterans on this squad have been the reasons for this team’s ebbs and flows. If they can remember their experience and utilize it, this team could make some noise. But as of now, that’s a big “if.”
Ben Lyon – Yes*
*- Ok, there’s a pretty big assumption loaded in to this one, and that’s the assumption that this version of the club hasn’t even found 4th gear yet- let alone 5th or possibly 6th. Yes, key pieces like Paxton Pomykal, Reggie Cannon, and Zdenek Ondrasek are no longer available for selection via injury or transfer, but there is, in theory sufficient replacements for both. So far, the theory has only delivered mediocre results.
Bryan Reynolds has been a huge bright spot replacing Reggie Cannon, and the defensive core is still in place. Is Jara, Colmán? No. Is Barrios toast? Yeah, probably not. People have talked about him losing a step, but it seems more like he’s lost his edge. I’d say the same for Jesus Ferreira who led the team in goals scored last year. They can both still find it. If you assume all of the answers are no for Barrios, Jara, and Ferreira (and also Mosquera/Picault), then the season is done. If, however, a few of these players find their top end during the playoffs (possible!), no one in the West wants anything to do with FC Dallas. We’ll see!
Drew Epperley - Should be a yes
Four games feels like not enough time to find that gear again that we saw a few weeks back. Thankfully, I will say that the schedule probably helps them a bit to have two straight home games against teams they should beat. Miami is still an expansion team after all. They’ve won just twice outside of South Beach this season. Houston has had similar struggles lately like Dallas and have also struggled away from home. I’d also love to point out that as of right now, they’re tied with Cincy and DCU with the fewest wins in 2020. Yup, even the LA Galaxy have one more win right now than Houston (ties have kept the Orange afloat though, so there is that).Will it be six points? Should be. Could it be four. Yeah, possibly.
My gut tells me that a win over Houston could be what this group needs though. Reto Ziegler said on Monday in the media press call that the loss in Nashville was the ‘cold shower the team needed’ and that the players met afterwards to discuss it and get back on track.
The final two games are on the road, one against Nashville again and the other in Minnesota. Get a pair of draws out of that and they’ll be set.
But back to the main question...if they get in, I do feel like all bets are off. If this year has taught us anything, expect the unexpected. One-off playoff series could actually benefit this team a good deal, especially if they some how luck into a home game some how.
Mohammad Bushnaq - Not Seeing It
It has been a weird season, but this team is just not showing me the drive and passion to make any kind of run in the postseason. In previous years, FCD has been buoyed by either a potent offense or a stout defense. It just feels like with all the injuries that neither one of those facets is clicking on all cylinders. I am disappointed to say this, but I think it's one and done again for our Frisco friends.