The playoffs are set to begin this weekend in MLS, and for the 14 clubs going in, there is hope for all of them to make a run, with every game being a do-or-die.
FC Dallas has plenty of reason to be optimistic and pessimistic about their chances of winning an MLS Cup. Here are some reasons why they can win it all this year and why they’ll likely crash out before the Cup final.
Why they will win MLS Cup in 2022
Toughest defense in the west - One thing still rings true in this league, defense wins championships. FC Dallas has the best goals-against average in the Western Conference and second best in MLS overall. Rarely does this group get too stretched out in defense, and they’re one of the better teams at limiting quality chances on goal when chances do go through to goal Maarten Paes has turned out to be a very good keeper in this league.
Jesus wants his legacy cemented - You could see it on Decision Sunday. Jesus Ferreira wanted the club’s all-time single-season goalscoring record. He didn’t get it, but this kid knows his place with the club and the history that comes with this season. He knows what it means to follow in his dad’s footsteps as a Designated Player and leader on this roster. He also knows what a title would mean for this team. The more he pushes and guides this team, the better off they are in these playoffs.
If Velasco, Ferreira and Arriola go off, they’ll be tough to beat - According to Second Spectrum, FC Dallas generated more shots (58) after regaining possession in the attacking third after an opposing turnover than they did in any other phase of play. Basically, if these three are on the same page in the attack alongside Paxton Pomykal and Sebastian Lletget, this group will create more dangerous opportunities on goal.
The bracket is kind of friendly - Looking at the Western Conference side of things with some rose-colored glasses, this route to an MLS Cup is very doable. Minnesota is banged up in key spots. Austin hasn’t exactly been great since mid-July (even at home), and LAFC could be upset by either the LA Galaxy or Nashville SC.
Why they won’t win MLS Cup in 2022
Who will score outside of Ferreira, Arriola and Velasco? - Nobody else on the roster has more than three goals, and Lletget’s goal on Decision Day was the first by a Dallas midfielder since June.
Do any of us have the confidence in Franco Jara to score right now? What about Jader Obrian? While it is great having two double-digit scorers on the roster this season, it shows that not enough players are stepping up to score when those three go cold.
The press can get to them in the back - Teams that like to press high in their attack tend to give FC Dallas the most fits. Look to this past weekend when Sporting KC began the second half down a goal and was pressing high, they caused turnovers in the Dallas defensive end, and then all of a sudden, the game is tied. Minnesota will cause some fits with how they defend up the field with Emanuel Reynoso. Austin caused a ton of fits in the midfield with their high-energy attack this season. Nashville was extremely tough to get through in the club’s last meeting in late August. Both LA clubs will force turnovers that lead to quality chances.
They’ll have to do this on the road mostly - I know upsets can and probably will happen in these playoffs; one-off games tend to lead to that, but if chalk prevails in this one, FC Dallas will have to go to Austin, then LA and then likely Philadelphia, Montreal or New York. FC Dallas has the seventh-best chance to host an MLS Cup, so the odds of having it in Frisco aren’t great since it will require upsets all over the place.
What reasons why they’ll win or lose, do you have? Let’s discuss those below.