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Breaking down the 2021 FC Dallas schedule

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Due to travel restrictions and a heavier conference slate, 2021 is going to be different.

On Wednesday, Major League Soccer released the 2021 schedule for every club including FC Dallas. After filling out the calendar and looking at all of the when’s and where’s of the set of games this year, it was pretty clear that this was going to be a unique season just like the 2020 one that came before it.

Western Front

Thanks to the ongoing pandemic, the schedule is heavy with regional games and those against conference opponents to help cut down on the amount of travel. FC Dallas will only get two games against Eastern Conference opponents, one being at home against the New England Revolution at the end of June and another on the road against NYCFC in September.

Last year we saw this once the league resumed play after the MLS is Back tournament in Orlando. Teams were more in regional pods, playing one another, rather than traveling long distances. Cut down last year were the long road trips for Dallas to places like Seattle and Vancouver. Instead, it was more games against Houston, Minnesota and Kansas City.

This year we’re getting those teams on the pacific coast back on the schedule including two trips to San Jose and to the LA Galaxy. Also, we’re getting three games against rivals Houston and newcomers Austin FC, as well as three games against the Colorado Rapids, Real Salt Lake, Minnesota United and Sporting Kansas City.

Get ready for Wednesday nights

The first thing that probably caught my eye on this schedule after the regionalized look was the number of midweek games. While yes, there are still a lot of weekend games on the schedule (21 to be exact, with 11 of those coming at home), the nine mid-week games (that includes one random Tuesday night game in New York City) is more than what we’ve been used to in the past.

The fun won’t get started right away though, FC Dallas won’t have their first mid-week game until the end of June when they visit LAFC. But between July 7 and August 18, FC Dallas plays nine games with four of those coming in the middle of the week. In other words, we’re going to be doing a lot of Sunday-Wednesday-Saturday type weeks.

Backloaded fall schedule

Last and certainly not least, is how crowded the schedule gets in the back portion. FC Dallas will play 16 games between the beginning of August through the end of October. Thankfully a closer look at that last portion of the schedule shows that five of the last seven games are at home. That could provide to be huge during a playoff race.

Games worth circling

Okay, I know most of you are intrigued by the Austin games. So am I. I definitely have that date late in August circled on my calendar as a hopeful road trip. But I have to also admit, I have a few of Austin’s home games against teams not named FC Dallas also on my calendar as potential road trips for this fall. Q2 Stadium looks like one worth visiting.

Anyways, on the FC Dallas front, these were games not against Houston or Austin that stood out as ones worth tuning in for:

  • 4/24 vs. San Jose Earthquakes - First meeting with San Jose since June 2019
  • 6/23 at LAFC - Both clubs are pegged as potential conference contenders this year, big road test for FC Dallas
  • 7/4 vs Vancouver Whitecaps - The annual July 4th game, duh.
  • 9/14 at NYCFC - I do really wonder what the world will be like come September with this pandemic. After all, when this whole thing started FCD was supposed to go to NYCFC.