The calendar has moved to October which means it's time for the business end of the MLS regular season.
Five games remain for FC Dallas as they jockey for playoff seeding including a shot at the Supporters' Shield as FCD looks to make the playoffs for the second-straight year. The difference between this season and last? Our guys know exactly what to expect.
"The experiences you have in your career and especially with a young team as ours you expect that will help," said Oscar Pareja. "It’s difficult to measure it. but it certainly should help the experience that we’ve accumulated."
Last year's squad logged not only 270 intense minutes through three MLS Cup Playoff games, but also had key regular season games in the final weeks giving players like Victor Ulloa and Matt Hedges invaluable experience that they look to bring into the final month of this season.
"I think it’s helping the team a lot," said Matt Hedges on last year's experience. "It’s nice to know that we’ve been in this situation before and know what to expect from these games not only at the end of the season, but on the run into the playoffs. You’re not as nervous or anything and you know what to expect."
With five games left, FCD can nearly assure themselves of a top-two seed by winning their three remaining home games. If Dallas can earn four wins out of their last five, the Supporters' Shield could fall their way with a little bit of luck in other results. Either way, Dallas is attacking these games with higher expectations than last season and goals that are now within reach.
"You play the whole season for this," said Hedges. "For me, I want to get first place and the body of work over our whole season is more impressive than just the playoffs, but it’s important we need to get a good seed to try and skip the play-in round."
A return home to Toyota Stadium where FCD has won ten games two seasons in a row should be just what the doctor ordered and the added significance of the final Texas Derby of 2015 only raises the hype of Sunday's national TV match.
"It feels great [to be home]," said Victor Ulloa. "We’ve been away for two games so it feels good to be back at home and especially the Texas Derby so it’s a big game for us. We know they’re pushing for the last playoff spot and they’re going to come with everything and intensity. We’ve been there we know what it feels like so we have to match that intensity."