It's time to officially talk playoffs as FC Dallas clinched their spot in the post-season dance on Sunday with a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Los Angeles. Here are the scenarios and tenative schedule as we sit with two games left in the regular season.
For those not familiar with the MLS Cup playoff format, the top five teams in each conference make the playoffs.
Fourth place hosts fifth place in a one-game wild card playoff with the winner playing the top seed in a two-leg semifinal while second will play third also in a two-leg playoff. The two-leg playoff rounds will feature home games at both stadiums and whoever has the highest combined score will advance. The lower seed will host the first game while the higher seed will host the second match.
The winners of the semifinals will play each other in a two-leg conference final and the winners of the conference finals will play in the one-game MLS Cup played at the home of the remaining team with the most points earned in the regular season.
What we know: FC Dallas can not finish in first or second in the Western Conference. Seattle and Los Angeles have the first two spots locked up, though we do not know who will finish first or second quite yet. If Seattle beats LA this weekend, they will lock up first place and the Supporters Shield .
FC Dallas can finish in third, fourth or fifth in the Western Conference. FCD will clinch at least a top four seed and a home playoff game if they earn one more point in their final two matches or Vancouver fails to win either of their final two matches.
FCD currently sits in fourth place, one point behind Real Salt Lake for third. The first tiebreaker if the teams finish level on points is wins and FCD has one more than RSL so if the teams finish tied in the regular season, FCD will finish third place overall. Real Salt Lake plays at Portland this weekend while FCD plays at Colorado. Needless to say, go Timbers.
Potential playoff schedule
Here is what we know about potential dates for home playoff games at Toyota Stadium through the first week of the playoffs(subject to change):
If FC Dallas finishes in fourth place and hosts the wild card round game, it will be held on Wednesday, October 29th at 7:30PM.
If FC Dallas finishes in fourth place, wins the wild card round game and hosts the first leg of a Western Conference semifinal, it will be on Sunday, November 2 at 8:00PM.
If FC Dallas finishes in third place, we will host the Western Conference semifinal on Saturday, November 1 at 7:00PM.
Everything after that as far as potential home games go is yet to be confirmed, but those dates are pretty set in stone, though the kickoff times are subject to change.
With a 2-1 come-from-behind win, FC Dallas assured the playoffs are back for the first time since 2011 and two players have been named to the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week for Week 32.
Defender Matt Hedges earned his team-leading fifth nomination of the season while Andres Escobar earned his second nomination of 2014 after playing a huge part in both goals. In all, FCD has has 13 players named to the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week this season.
Here's what MLS had to say about their performances:
M: Andres Escobar (FC Dallas) – The Colombian winger enjoyed a superb evening in a crucial match for FC Dallas, and he couldn't have picked a better night for a coming out party. Influential on both goals in FCD's 2-0 victory over the Galaxy.
The best shots from Sunday's big win from Erik Davila, Olivia Brestal & USA Today Sports Images:
After nearly three weeks, FC Dallas is finally back home on Sunday as we host th eLA Galaxy in one of the biggest regular season games at Toyota Stadium in quite some time. Here are 10 things to know about Sunday's big match:
1. Sunday's match is set for a 6:00PM kickoff and is presented by WinStar World Casino & Resorts. You'll definitely want to head to Lamar's Tailgate on the north concourse to check out their huge tent with lots of great giveaways.
2. Speaking of Lamar's Tailgate, we're excited to have team captain Maylee Johnson and the Trinidad & Tobago Women's National Team as our honorary LH Statue scarfer right around 5:30pm.
3. You're going to want to head over to the east parking lot of the stadium before heading inside Toyota Stadium on Sunday as the Budweiser Brewmaster Tour will be outside. There's free beer. Do I need to say more?
4. There is a TON on the line as FC Dallas clinches a 2014 MLS Cup Playoff spot with a win while the LA Galaxy can move to the top of MLS with at least a draw. Check out the full MLS standings to see just how big this late-season showdown is.
5. While parking is always free for everyone at Toyota Stadium, our Toyota drivers out there can enjoy FREE upgraded parking in the Camry Gold Lot tonight. The Camry Gold Lot is directly NW of the stadium adjacent to the Dr. Pink fieldf
6. This will be Landon Donovan's final MLS regular season match at Toyota Stadium so be in your seat early tonight as we'll have a special presentation before kickoff.
7. The forecast for Sunday's match is pretty much perfect. A high of 80 is expected for this one with temperatures probably right around 75 at kickoff. No rain is expected until well after midnight.
9. If you're one of the poor souls who can't make it out to the game, Sunday's match will be live nationally on ESPN2 with a 6:10PM kickoff. Additionally, the game will be on 100.7FM(English) & 1270AM(Spanish)
10. Limited tickets are still available for the match and you can grab yours here.
Hear from Kellyn Acosta, Matt Hedges & Oscar Pareja on #FCDvLA with FCDTV's Quick Kicks:
Here's your Keys to the Match pres. by Toyota with Scott & Daniel breaking down Sunday's game:
Originally, Thursday night's FC Dallas ECNL vs Trinidad & Tobago Women's National Team match at the Toyota Soccer Center was simply a fun friendly to help the T&T WNT prepare for next week's 2014 CONCACAF Women's World Cup qualifiers, but it quickly became more than that.
T&T head coach Randy Waldrum, a long-time Dallas resident, Texas native and current Houston Dash head coach, put the notice out on Twitter early Tuesday morning that the T&T Women arrived with no money, food or equipment to Dallas where they would be training for the week leading up to the tournament.
The Dallas soccer community quickly mobilized with FC Dallas supporters Dallas Beer Guardians & American Outlaws Dallas supporters donating hundreds of dollars worth of supplies, FC Dallas donating equipment and fields for training as well as meals through both FCD's concessionaire, Legends and FCD's partners including CiCi's Pizza & Chipotle.
Thursday's match became a charity effort for the T&T Women with full proceeds going to the team and a chance to provide some normalcy to what has no-doubt been a wild week for the team known as the "Soca Princesses."
The well-played match ended 1-0 with T&T coming out victorious, and over $1,500 was raised for our guests.
The T&T women will be special guests of FC Dallas at Sunday's match against the Los Angeles Galaxy with team captain Maylee Johnson scarfing the Lamar Hunt Statue prior to kickoff, so be sure to arrive early and join the festivites at 5:30PM on the north concourse!
All you Chipotle fanatics in Dallas rejoice! Join us at Chipotle at Preston & Warren in Frisco on Thursday, Oct. 9th from 3:00 - 4:30PM as two of our Homegrown stars, Victor Ulloa & Moises Hernandez, will be signing autographs, taking pictures and even rolling a burrito or two.
Come get your Chipotle fix on Thursday afternoon with Vic, Mo & FCD!
What a wild and wacky weekend it was in Major League Soccer as RSL fell at Chivas USA while LA and Seattle rolled on. Here's a look at the playoff picture with just three weeks left:
1. Seattle Sounders FC
60 points(+14 GD) - 3 games remaining - Last match: 4-1 win at Colorado - Next match: 1/10 vs Vancouver - Last 5: W-W-L-L-W
The Sounders won their second straight, throttling a hapless Colorado Rapids team that hasn't won in quite a long time. Seattle ends the season with three toughies, starting with Vancouver this weekend and two games against Los Angeles.
2. LA Galaxy
60 points(+35 GD) - 3 games remaining - Last match: 3-0 win vs Toronto FC - Next match: 10/12 at FC Dallas - Last 5: W-W-W-D-D
Los Angeles rolled along again last weekend beating Toronto FC handily at the StubHub Center. There's no doubt the Galaxy are incredibly formidable at home, but they'll have two tough road tests to end the year with FCD and Seattle. They'll play this weekend at FCD without at least Robbie Keane and Marcelo Sarvas while Omar Gonzalez is also a question mark.
3. Real Salt Lake
49 points(+11 GD) - 3 games remaining - Last match: 1-0 loss at Chivas USA - Next match: 10/11 vs San Jose - Last 5: L-L-W-L-W
Is it time to panic in Sandy, Utah? A shock 1-0 loss at Chivas USA has Jeff Cassar's side on a bit of a dip. A win against Chivas would've propeled RSL into an almost insurmountable lead for the 3rd place spot, but now things are wide open especially considering RSL will be missing five players on international duty this week.
4. FC Dallas
48 points(+10 GD) - 3 games remaining - Last match: 2-0 loss at Vancouver Whitecaps - Next match: 10/12 vs Los Angeles - Last 5: L-W-L-W-L
It wasn't a good weekend for Dallas who not only lost by a two-goal margin for just the second time this season, but saw Portland come back to win in San Jose nixing any playoff clinching hopes. However, the last three games are all manageable for Dallas with two home games and a road game at Colorado. Three wins could see Dallas jump into third place. They'll clinch with a Portland loss on Wednesday or a win on Sunday against Los Angeles.
5. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
43 points(+0 GD) - 3 games remaining - Last match: 2-0 win vs FCD - Next match: 10/10 at Seattle - Last 5: W-W-L-L-W
Another HUGE home win for Vancouver against FCD to keep pace for the fifth and final playoff spot, but the Whitecaps aren't even remotely out of the woods. Two road games out of three remaining for Vancouver who has been poor on the road this season. Still, they're in with a shot.
6. Portland Timbers FC
42 points(+4 GD) - 3 games remaining - Last match: 2-1 win at San Jose - Next match: 10/8 vs San Jose - Last 5: W-L-W-D-D
A gift from the heavens brought Portland back from the brink of elimination, coming from 1-0 down to win 2-1 at San Jose. They'll face the Quakes again tonight and desperately need to put their home woes behind themselves with a win as their last two matches are against RSL and FCD.
FCD PLAYOFF SCENARIOS:
FC Dallas will clinch a 2014 MLS Cup Playoff Spot if:
-Portland loses to San Jose on Wednesday
-FC Dallas defeats LA Galaxy on Sunday
-Portland ties San Jose on Wednesday & FC Dallas ties or defeats LA Galaxy on Sunday
FC Dallas will clinch at least fourth place and a home playoff game if:
Vancouver loses or draws at Seattle on Friday and FC Dallas wins or draws against LA Galaxy
IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY:
If there were no games left and we were looking forward to the start of the playoffs, here are the current matchups:
WILD CARD GAME
Vancouver Whitecaps FC at FC Dallas
WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
Seattle Sounders FC vs FC Dallas/Vancouver Whitecaps FC
LA Galaxy vs Real Salt Lake
It was back to work for the FC Dallas Academy as they took the trip down I-45 to take on Texas Rush in a full set of weekend games on Sunday from U-18 all the way down to U-13. Here's a recap of the action(Stay tuned for our FCDTV Academy Update later this week talking to coaches and players about the games):
Texas Rush U-18: 1
The U-18s moved to 3-0-0 on the season with 5-1 win over Texas Rush. Homegrown signing Coy Craft joined the U-18s for his first game of the season scoring a hat trick in the win. Caleb Young added two goals to take his tally to three on the young season.
Texas Rush U-16: 0
Giovanni Montesedoca scored twice while Devin Vega, Toshiki Yasuda & Isaac Albaradei also tallied goals in the first shutout of the season for the U-16s who are 3-0-0.
The FCD U-16s head to Kansas City this weekend for the first round of Generation adidas Cup qualifying where they'll play Houston Dynamo & Chicago Fire.
Texas Rush U-15: 0
The U-15's moved to 2-0-0 on the season with a 5-0 win over Texas Rush. Abelardo Escalante, Jommar Reyez, Mandel Steward, Alonzo Molina and Carlos Garcia scored in the victory.
Texas Rush U-14: 2
The U-14s fell to Texas Rush 2-0, with goals scored in either half.
Texas Rush U-13: 2
Bryan Reynolds and Johan Gomez scored for the U-13's in their first win of the season over Texas Rush.