FRISCO - There’s a Sunday night showdown in the Western Conference - and perhaps the biggest single regular season game in FC Dallas history.
No. 1-seeded FCD hosts No. 2-seeded Sporting KC in a match that will likely decide who finishes the year atop the West in MLS. Since March 24, they are the only two teams who have held that spot.
“I think it’s quite simple. It’s the final of the conference,” defender Reto Ziegler said. “We’re going to approach it like a Final.”
“These are games you really get up for,” forward Dominique Badji said. “Nothing feels better than when the whistles blown and you have a victory in your hand, that’s motivation in it’s own to just get the win. On top of that, if we beat them that’s putting us in a great position to get that first or second spot.”
With a win, Dallas would officially clinch the coveted first-round bye and avoid a mid-week Knockout Round match in less than two weeks’ time. With a win and an LAFC loss on Sunday, FCD would clinch the Western Conference regular season crown.
“I have to point out the job that they have done because it is a consequence of that job that they have the opportunity to decide that at home and it’s in their hands,” head coach Oscar Pareja said. “It’s a good rivalry, indeed, with Kansas City, with that group of players. We have had very good matches between both sides.”
In fact, Sunday will be the seventh meeting between the two clubs in the last 19 months - the fifth in MLS play with two more in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup action. Neither side has faced a league opponent more in the last two seasons.
Dallas not only has the chance to earn a full week of preparation, but also has the chance to reach the 60-point pinnacle for the third time in four seasons with a win. No team has his 60 points more than twice in MLS history.
For Sporting KC, a team that has seen four straight years of Knockout Round eliminations, the bye could be the most crucial in their quest of another MLS Cup.
With so much on the line, expect it to be the best one yet.
“KC is always a dangerous team. They've got a lot of good attacking players, a solid defense, they don't really give up much and they’re organized,” Badji said about this weekend’s foe, having not faced them yet this season since joining his new club. “It just comes down to us having to be very disciplined from the forwards to all the way back to the goalie, honestly, to be able to get a result against a very good team.”
FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City kickoff at 4PM on Sunday on TXA 21 and across the FCDTV Network