FRISCO – Now that the full 2013 FC Dallas season schedule is out, it’s time for some analysis. When it comes to MLS schedules, there are a handful of anomalies that have the potential to – positively or negatively – impact a team’s season. Those anomalies are: extended home stands, extended road trips, extended breaks and quick turnarounds.
FC Dallas won’t play more than two consecutive matches at home or on the road in 2013, so home stands and road trips won’t play much of a factor this season. That leaves extended breaks and quick turnarounds.
Typically in this league, games are played on the weekend and teams train during the week. Therefore, I personally define an extended break as more than six days between matches, and a quick turnaround as less than six days between matches.
The infographic on the right is a visual breakdown of quick turnarounds (red) and extended breaks (blue) from FC Dallas' 2012 and 2013 seasons. Click to enlarge.
This year’s schedule presents FCD with three instances of quick turnarounds. FC Dallas will play two matches in four days in May, three in nine days in July and three in eight days in August.
Compare that to 2012, when the club faced six instances of quick turnarounds: playing three games in eight days in April, three in seven days AND three in eight days in the month of May, two games in four days AND three in eight days in July and three in eight days in August.
It’s no secret 2012 was an injury-riddled season for FC Dallas. While the blame can’t solely be placed on the number of quick turnarounds, that many rapid-fire matches certainly didn’t do anything to help the club return to full strength last year.
The fact the team has half as many quick turnarounds to deal with this year bodes well for FC Dallas in 2013.
It’s debatable what role extended breaks play throughout the course of a season. Depending on who you ask, they can be good for rest or bad for rhythm.
The team will have one less extended break than it had in 2012, but all the breaks are evenly distributed this season.
Last year, three of FCD’s five extended breaks occurred during the final third of the season. Depending on which side of the debate you land on, the rest may have been good for the team or may have disrupted the rhythm of a club fighting to make the playoffs.
Either way, it’s a good thing FC Dallas’ schedule is visibly more balanced this year than it was in 2012, when the club missed the playoffs for the first time since 2009.