FRISCO - Nine months of competition comes down to two dramatic hours. It's the first-ever MLS Decision Day on Sunday and Toyota Stadium is one of the biggest stages.
FC Dallas hosts San Jose in a match that will play a huge part in not only deciding the Supporters' Shield winner but the Earthquakes' fate as well and FCD couldn't be more excited to be a part of the big day.
"What a great moment for the league and what an exciting moment for all of us who have been here in the league for many years," said head coach Oscar Pareja. "It’s fantastic and we are very proud to belong and be a part of that equation to be fighting for the Supporters’ Shield and be sitting in the playoffs, It’s a great moment."
FC Dallas currently sits tied with the New York Red Bulls at the top of the Supporters' Shield standings but need to better the Red Bulls' result as New York holds the goal differential tiebreaker on Dallas. There is certainly hope as the Red Bulls have not won in Chicago in ten years. It's the closest FCD has come to breaking their 18-year trophy drought since 2010 MLS Cup.
"It’s very exciting. It’s a big decider game if we win the Supporters’ Shield," said Je-Vaughn Watson. "We’re already excited to be at the top of the conference and we’re looking forward to seeing a packed stadium and the atmosphere will be nice. I’m excited, I can’t wait until Sunday."
With Sporting Kansas City losing to Colorado on Wednesday, the race couldn't be tighter in the Western Conference with four teams playing for three playoff spots and the #2 through #6 seed in the west completely in flux. With every Western Conference team playing at 6:00PM as well as New York against Chicago in the east, a six-match free-for-all is on tap for perhaps the most wild two hours in league history which will keep fans at Toyota Stadium glued to the scores on their phone.
"Everything matters and everything is important. San Jose has their own challenges and equations to get what they need and we have ours and other teams in the league are in the same mode," said Pareja. "Once again, I think it’s a great moment for all of us that the competition is that high. There’s one game left and many things are in play."
MLS made the decision of moving the Red Bulls' match to 6:00PM on Sunday avoiding what could have been an awkward situation for FC Dallas not knowing whether their match would be one of the biggest in club history or essentially meaningless until ten minutes before kickoff.
"When you really look at it, I think it’s the right way," said Watson. "If that game was before and New York would have won, we’d go into our game down, so I think it’s a good move by MLS and this Sunday is going to be great. It’s the last game of the season, everyone’s going to come out and it’s just exciting. I can’t wait."