Once again, FC Dallas ended the weekend with a draw and a point, failing to clinch a playoff spot. That means it all comes down to Decision Day in Carson against the Galaxy for the Burn. This week, we’ll run through all the possible scenarios for FCD on Decision Day.
An FC Dallas win does one big thing: guarantees playoffs. Outside of that, it doesn’t necessarily clarify much as Dallas could still theoretically finish 7th, 8th or 9th even with a win. If Portland fails to beat Houston, Dallas is likely to end up in 7th, unless San Jose absolutely batters Austin and makes up a lot of goal differential. If Portland does beat Houston, Dallas will likely finish 8th and host the play-in game. A 9th place finish is possible but it would, again, require San Jose to make up a lot of goal differential in their game against Austin. 8th or 9th results in the play-in game in which a win would send Dallas to a series with Western Conference winners St Louis.
The 7th place finish has a few potential opponents. If LAFC beat Vancouver on Decision Day, they’ll clinch 2nd place and would be FCD’s opponent in the first round. Seattle are a point behind LAFC with a game against St Louis on Decision Day, so there’s a possibility of Seattle being FCD’s first round opponent as well. And finally, it is a slim chance, but Houston could end up 2nd as well, though it would require LAFC to lose to Vancouver, Seattle to lose or draw against St Louis and Houston to overcome a bit of goal difference on LAFC. Unlikely, but a Texas Derby is possible for Dallas’ first round matchup.
This certainly seems like the most likely outcome on Decision Day at this point, doesn’t it? Dallas have drawn five times in a row against teams in all various spots on the table across both conferences. A draw could see Dallas end up anywhere between 7th and 10th, out of the playoffs entirely. If Portland lose to Houston, San Jose fails to beat Austin and SKC and Minnesota draw, Dallas would manage to draw their way into 7th and avoid the play in game. A Portland result against Houston would mean that an FCD tie would get them no higher than 8th, with that finish requiring San Jose to fail to beat Austin and SKC and Minnesota tie. Dallas could also jump above Portland but still end up 8th if the Timbers lose to Houston, San Jose beats Austin and Minnesota and SKC tie. 9th place is just as likely. Portland and San Jose winning but SKC and Minnesota drawing would see Dallas end up in 9th with a tie. Alternatively, either SKC or Minnesota winning but Portland or San Jose losing (or San Jose drawing) would see Dallas finish in 9th.
Dallas could also miss out entirely with a tie. A Portland win or draw, San Jose win and either SKC or Minnesota winning would see Dallas eliminated from the playoffs with a tie against the Galaxy. This would accomplish the somewhat remarkable feat of Dallas being eliminated from the playoffs while having a +1 goal differential and going their last 9 games without losing.
A Dallas loss could see Dallas finish anywhere between 8th and 10th. Dallas losing takes Portland out of the equation as no matter what happens in Portland, they would finish ahead of Dallas due to having more wins. If Dallas and San Jose both lose and SKC and Minnesota tie, Dallas would end up in 8th. If Dallas loses, San Jose wins or ties and SKC and Minnesota tie, Dallas would end up in 9th. In that scenario, a Portland loss would see Dallas travel to Portland for the play in game. Dallas could also finish in 9th but end up traveling to SKC or Minnesota if either of those two win, Portland wins and San Jose loses. Finally, Dallas could obviously and easily miss the playoffs with a loss if San Jose gets a result against Austin and SKC or Minnesota win.
All the potential matchups
I’ll just list these off:
2nd place LAFC vs 7th place FCD
2nd place Seattle vs 7th place FCD
2nd place Houston vs 7th place FCD
Play in game:
Dallas hosts San Jose
Dallas hosts Portland
Dallas hosts SKC
Dallas hosts Minnesota
San Jose hosts Dallas
Portland hosts Dallas
SKC hosts Dallas
Minnesota hosts Dallas
In any of these scenarios, Dallas winning the play-in would result in a first round matchup with St Louis.
It is hard to have a lot of confidence in Dallas pulling off a win on Decision Day. It is also hard to see them losing a game at this point. Their last loss came on the road in St Louis playing down a man for almost 80 minutes. My gut thought is that Dallas will end up in the play-in game but likely have to travel for it. In that play-in game, all bets are off. This team struggles mightily to score more than a goal and, despite being strong defensively, struggles to keep clean sheets. A play-in game seems destined for a penalty shootout and, at that point, its impossible to say what could happen. To be honest, I just don’t know what to think of this team, I feel like they are just as likely to miss out entirely as they are to make a run deep in the playoffs. Either way, Decision Day will be a roller coaster ride.
What do you think will happen on Decision Day for FC Dallas? Let me know in the comments below!
Featured Image: Steve Hamm/Dallas Morning News