COMMERCE CITY, Colo. - If the secret to the MLS postseason is finding form at the right time, Dallas has three days to find theirs.
After Sunday's Decision Day loss to Colorado - the third straight loss to end the 2018 Regular Season - FCD is looking for answers as they get set to host the Portland Timbers in Knockout Round play on Wednesday.
"With the last three games there have been moments where we see a team. There have been others, like the second half [today], where we we lost that energy," head coach Oscar Pareja told reporters after the match. "We keep moving. It’s playoff time now and we have to face it."
"It’s really disappointing, but we’ve got another game to play. We’ve got to figure it out and get ready to play Wednesday," Dominique Badji said, assisting the lone goal against his former club on Sunday. "It’s not going to be an easy game, but it’s definitely a game that we want to get a good result in so we can show what we can do - because today we didn’t show the team that we usually are."
In less than 72 hours' time, Dallas will host a Portland Timbers side that opted to set its sights on Wednesday before the regular season was even over.
The 10 field players who started for Gio Savarese on Decision Day's 2-1 loss to Vancouver combined for a total of five minutes played in the previous week's crucial 3-0 win over RSL. The average number of starts for that group this season coming into the final day was 11.6 - a third of the Timbers' matches.
Dallas and Portland played to draws in both of their meetings this season, a 1-1 affair in March in Texas and a 0-0 stalemate in late September in Oregon. With a winner-takes-all third meeting on the horizon Wednesday, FCD is finding solace in the fact that the team can fight for its season on its home turf.
"We are disappointed and now we have to look forward. I think we are lucky to play at home [on Wednesday]," defender Reto Ziegler said. "Everybody has to analyze the past performances - not only today but the last three games because it was not good, it was not our level. It begins now with the recovery, with the ice baths, sleeping well. It's the small details, but we have to be fresh because Portland is going to be fresh."