For most MLS teams, just two matches remain in the season as we count down to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, but for FC Dallas, Wednesday presents a fantastic opportunity as they play their crucial game in hand on most of the rest of the Western Conference against Vancouver.
Let's take a look at the Western Conference playoff picture ahead of Wednesday's massive match.
As you can see, FC Dallas is sitting in pretty position at the top of the table tied with Los Angeles and that crucial game in hand on Wednesday. Here is what each scenario on Wednesday would mean for FCD:
For FCD, a win at home on Wednesday would put Oscar Pareja's club on 54 points with 16 wins which would guarantee finishing above every Western Conference team except for Los Angeles, and Sporting KC meaning a win on Wednesday would guarantee at least a top 3 seed and a home playoff game.
It would also put FCD in a commanding position for a top two seed which would be assured if FCD wins and Sporting KC fails to win at San Jose on Friday. That's because Sporting KC plays the LA Galaxy on the final match of the season so one team or the other could reach above 54 points and 16 wins, but not both of them.
Basically, if FCD wins on Wednesday, the only way they finish outside the top two and miss out on the wild card round bye is if they lose their last two games, SKC finishes win, win, draw and LA finishes win, draw. A win would also push FCD within three points of securing the #1 seed in the Western Conference for the playoffs.
If FCD draws Vancouver on Wednesday, Oscar Pareja's side will still need to win one more game to assure a top two seed. A point on Wednesday, would push FC Dallas to 52 points but still within six points of the four teams below them meaning the possiblity of dropping in the standings is still there should Dallas slip up in their final two matches.
The point would be crucial in keeping Vancouver below Dallas so it's certainly nothing to sniff at considering it leaves FCD within just one win of securing that crucial top two seed, but as you can see the difference between a win and a draw is massive for Dallas.
Should FCD lose to the Whitecaps on Wednesday, it suddenly makes Saturday's match at RSL a massive one.
While Dallas would still control their destiny in the Western Conference, a loss would vault the Whitecaps to the top of the Western Conference standings two points above Dallas, though FCD would still have a game in hand on the Whitecaps meaning if Dallas could win their final two matches and get to 47 points, the #1 seed would still be assured for the club.
However, as mentioned, a tricky trip to RSL who pretty much have to win on Saturday to keep their playoff hopes alive awaits Dallas on Saturday and while a win or draw means you still have your home game on the final day of the season against San Jose to fall back on, a loss would send FCD to Utah needing a result to avoid a precarious Decision Day match.