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August Outlook: How the next six games could determine FC Dallas’ playoff chances

Three big home games but three equally big road games including two this week.

MLS: LA Galaxy at FC Dallas Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The summer has been largely brutal for FC Dallas with a long winless run that thankfully ended recently in Utah.

We said going into July that the four games at home should have been a reprieve that would help keep them in the playoff picture. Instead of getting 12 points from the four home games, FC Dallas only ended up with nine points total from the entire month.

Now we hit a new month on the calendar, and there are three more home games ahead that will be huge for the playoff chances.

Seattle Sounders - away - August 2

The games come quick with one tomorrow in Washington, as FC Dallas beings their two-game Pacific Northwest trip. Seattle has had quite the season with their Concacaf Champions League title win earlier this year to a recent run of games that have seen them lose five of their last seven games. Two of those losses also came at home, a place that has been trouble for FC Dallas in recent years. Could this be the year that FC Dallas picks up a positive result there? Now feels like the time to get it.

Portland Timbers - away - August 6

Following a tough game in Seattle, FC Dallas will go south a bit to Oregon to battle the Timbers. Unlike their rivals, Portland has been on a nice run of thing, going unbeaten in their last eight games. They’ve been very good at home in that run too, winning three of those games and out scoring their opponents 8-3. If Dallas picks up a point or three on Tuesday, getting anything in Portland may be a happy bonus.

San Jose Earthquakes - home - August 13

Following the tough week ahead, FC Dallas returns home for a two-game home stand. The Quakes are one of the most confusing teams to watch in MLS these days. On one hand, they have some quality that keeps them in games, no matter the opponent. On the other hand, they’re a total mess. So this is going to be a game that FC Dallas has to pick up three points, even if it is ugly.

Philadelphia Union - home - August 17

Aside from the week ahead, hosting the Union may be the toughest game on the schedule this month. Philly has been on a bender lately, racking up big score lines against DC and Houston in recent games. So far, this group has only lost twice this season too. The Union have arguably the best defense in MLS right now, which is going to make this midweek game very interesting.

Nashville SC - away - August 21

The final road game of the month sees FC Dallas go to a new stadium. Nashville hasn’t exactly been dominant in their new digs this season but they’re getting there. Defensively, they’re still solid with Walker Zimmerman but outside of him, they can leak some goals. We saw earlier this season when Nashville visited Dallas that they are vulnerable on the counterattack too.

Real Salt Lake - home - August 27

The final game of the month is a home date with RSL, a team we just saw Dallas beat. We know RSL’s history in Dallas isn’t great but let’s take that out of the picture here. This is a must-win game no matter how the five games above go this month.

Outlook

Just like July, August has 18 total available points before the final two months of the season only see four games. Those nine points at home are vital and just like in recent months, if FC Dallas can find a way to continue to pick up even just some draws on the road, it will keep them not only in the playoff hunt in the Western Conference, but in the race for a top seed too.

Personally, I think FCD can pick up points this week out west, even if it is just one point. I do think four points isn’t totally out of the picture but it will all depend on how this group handles the lineup rotation and travel. From that, picking up at least four points in those next two home games is key. The same could be said for those last two games of the month.

So that puts nine points, maybe ten or 12 if things go their way. The last two games that brought shutout wins should be a nice momentum boost to help continue a positive string of games here this month.

What do you see as doable right now for FC Dallas in August? Let’s discuss it below.