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Quick Burns: Who needs a big outing in the playoffs for FC Dallas?

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FC Dallas is firmly the underdog going into Sunday’s game at Portland, but who can step up and carry them through to the next round?

MLS: FC Dallas at Portland Timbers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday’s big MLS Cup Playoff clash for FC Dallas is all about revenge against the Portland Timbers and pulling the big upset. In order to do so, there are some players that need to step up in a big way.

Our staff has come up with one player that we think needs to have a big outing on Sunday in order to help push FC Dallas into the next round. Feel free to leave your thoughts below in the comments.

Jason Poon - Michael Barrios

I was going to type in Matt Hedges, but he’s essentially a lock to have a good game. What will make the biggest difference though is Michael Barrios. Barrios has been cold in front of goal for much of 2020, and if Dallas wants to get out of the first round, they’ll need him to finish one of his chances. He’ll be the difference between advancing or going home.

Drew Epperley - Thiago Santos

This one may come down to just how well the Dallas midfield and backline contains the likes of Yimmi Chara and Diego Valeri. And because of that, a lot of pressure might have to go on Santos’ shoulders to carry the load defensively in the midfield and keep the pressure off the back line enough to allow the fullbacks to get forward enough to help in the attack. A big, card-free game from Santos in my mind will determine whether or not we’re talking the offseason come Monday or our next round opponent.

Jose Carmona - Fafa Picault

It’s amazing how good the FC Dallas attack looks when they get any production from the left wing. Think back to many clear FCD victories, and you’ll find that good play on the left wing was a common factor, such as Fafa torching the Minnesota United right back repeatedly, Mosquera with a hat trick, or Hollingshead starting at left wing and delivering the winning goal.

Fafa is likely to be the starter against Portland, and he’ll need to have a big game if FCD is to advance. Portland is solid defensively, and they will be looking to shut down the FCD attack, while looking to hit back with a quick counter. Fafa playing well will be key to FCD breaking through, as it will make things easier on Barrios and Jara if Portland has to worry about the left winger. No production from Fafa, and FCD will be going home early.

Nathan Hill - Michael Barrios

I will follow up on Jason’s suggestion and go to the next level.

If Barrios doesn’t play up to his potential, I think we may be watching him in his last match as an FC Dallas player. It’s way past time for him to figure it out after what has been a miserable year. This team has been begging for him to turn it on, and the time is right for a huge performance from the veteran. If not, I think it’s time for the team to think about getting what they can for him and thank him for his service.

Ben Lyon - One hot attacker

The goal of a home playoff match fell by the way side. The implicit goal from that achievement was playoff advancement. That’s still very much on the table. Any of Picault, Barrios, Jara, or Ferreira can be this guy. They’ve all been wasteful in different ways. FC Dallas really only needs one to get hot to meet the goal of advancement. If a second emerges, then the sky is the limit.