The 2024 MLS schedule was released on Wednesday, setting the stage for the upcoming season. This week, let’s look at a few things that stick out in FCD’s 2024 slate of games.

No Messi this year

Sorry to all the folks counting on another trip to Frisco for Lionel Messi, not happening this year. With the limited cross-conference schedule, Messi and Miami will only travel to three western conference teams in 2024 – LA Galaxy, Sporting KC and Vancouver. There’s still some limited hope for a rematch in Leagues Cup or the Open Cup (well, maybe we’ll see about that…) or maybe an MLS Cup Final but nothing in the MLS regular season will be bringing Messi to Frisco.

Three Austin FC matches again

With an uneven number of teams in the league, many western conference teams end up scheduled against an in-conference foe three times instead of the normal two. In 2023, FCD played Austin three times, twice in Austin and once in Frisco and they’ll do so again in 2024, though they’ll flip the home/away balance and play in Frisco twice and in Austin a single time. For me, this is frustrating. If there’s one western conference team I’d like to see Dallas play three times, it is the biggest rival – Houston Dynamo. But really I’d like to see FCD play another eastern conference foe – Chicago in particular. Keep Brimstone Cup alive!

Eastern Conference slate

Dallas will host a couple eastern conference teams they haven’t seen in quite a while in FC Cincinnati and CF Montreal. Cincy hasn’t come to town since their debut MLS season in 2019 when they were a very different team than the current shield holders. When Montreal was last in Frisco, the COVID-19 pandemic had not yet hit and they were still known as the Impact. It is great to see Dallas playing some teams they haven’t seen in a while.

The rest of the matchups will prove to be a challenge. The third and final home game will see Oscar Pareja return to Dallas with Orlando City and the road slate includes New York Red Bulls, DC United, Toronto FC, and New England Revolution, all teams that will have new coaches in 2024.

4th of July match

The annual 4th of July match will happen once again on a pretty tight timeline. The 4th falls on a Thursday in 2024 and FCD will host the Portland Timbers. Interestingly, this is a rare western conference foe on the 4th, FCD commonly places a team from the east on Independence Day. Bookending that match is FC Cincy’s trip to Frisco and a trip to SKC just a few days after the 4th on July 7th, one of FCD’s few Sunday games of the season. That might be one of FCD’s tougher runs of the season.

6 midweek matches

Dallas has 6 midweek matches on their 2024 slate: LA Galaxy away on 5/29, Minnesota at home on 6/19, Portland at home on 7/4, Austin at home on 7/17, RSL away on 9/18, and San Jose away on 10/2. Nothing particularly crazy about any of these matchups but they will prove interesting as to season goes on and the fixtures start flying in quick.

Jam packed June and July

Across June and July, Dallas will play 11 matches, almost a third of their entire season in just two months. This is definitely their toughest part of the schedule as they’ll start June with an away game against LAFC (on the back of a midweek game in Carson against the Galaxy) followed by a trip up to Minnesota to play the Loons. They then come back home to play St Louis and then another game against Minnesota midweek. Following that, they’ll travel to Seattle for their dreaded annual trip to the Pacific Northwest followed by a home game against the shield holders FC Cincinnati back in Frisco to close out June. July 4th kicks off the next month against Portland followed by a trip to Kansas City on the following weekend. Dallas will come back home to host the Galaxy, then host Austin midweek followed by a tough trip up to New England to play the Revs in the final game before the Leagues Cup break. This stretch may very well make or break FCD’s season.

Rivalry gauntlet in the spring

On April 27th, Dallas will play their first game of the season against Houston. Just two weeks later, they’ll host Austin and then follow that up with a trip to Houston the following weekend. A trip to Toronto breaks up the in-state battles but that will undoubtedly be a very intense part of the season.

Relatively soft start

Dallas will look to their early schedule as a big opportunity to big up points. Five of their first nine are at home with one away game being a short trip to Austin. In that early stretch in February, March and April, Dallas will host San Jose, Montreal, Vancouver, Seattle and Houston, all games they would expect to pick up a lot of points in and their away trips include Red Bulls, Austin, St Louis and Colorado, not exactly a murderers’ row (though also not exactly easy trips). With the way things ramp up in the summer, Dallas will really want to take advantage of their early season schedule to try to pick up as many points as possible.

Decision Day against SKC

For the third time in six seasons, Dallas will host SKC on decision day (previous times were 2019 and 2022). In both previous occasions, Dallas was fortunate to face SKC in some serious down years and in both cases, strong results against Sporting propelled them into the playoffs or into strong playoff positions. That may not be the case in 2024 as SKC finished 2023 extremely strongly, almost making the Western Conference final. This could be one of Dallas’ most intense and crucial Decision Days in years.

What are your thoughts on FCD’s 2024 schedule? Let me know in the comments below or on social media!

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