FRISCO, Texas – With Decision Day a little more than a month away, the playoff race in the Western Conference is very tight. The margin for error is minuscule, as second and eighth place are separated by six points. One area where there is clear parity is the home field advantage every team challenging for the playoff spots has, which adds even higher value to games with teams who are all but eliminated. Let’s take a look at the schedule for the remainder of the regular season.
FC Dallas at Chicago Fire | September 14
FC Dallas resumes play after an international break against the Chicago Fire, who are currently on the outside of the playoffs looking in. Chicago will be incredibly motivated, since they are only four points outside the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference and will need to capitalize on their home games, since they only have seven points in 15 games away from home. FC Dallas will be wary of top scorer Nemanja Nikolić, who has scored three goals in as many games. The Texas-based team could try to take advantage of a lack of discipline, as Chicago have picked up a red card in two of their last three games.
FC Dallas at Seattle Sounders FC | September 18
The travel commitments for the next game in Seattle will be challenging. The team flies back to Dallas after the match in Chicago and travels to the Pacific Northwest on Tuesday, for a late kickoff Wednesday night. Seattle is another team that really values its home field, and its offense at home has been electric, scoring an average of three goals over its last three home games. Of particular interest to FC Dallas will be midfielder Christian Roldan, who has scored half of his season total of six goals in the last two matches, as well as contributing two key passes in the last match. As Seattle are currently within touching distance for Dallas, this game could be crucial in deciding not only presence in the playoffs, but also seeding.
FC Dallas vs NYCFC | September 22
FC Dallas returns home to Frisco, where it is the midst of a nine game unbeaten run, including a three game winning streak where the average margin of victory was more than two goals per game. FCD will take on NYCFC for the first time this year, but despite the fact that NYCFC has already clinched and are playing for the first round bye, Dallas can be confident. While the New York team has a better than average away record, they have not won a single road game when it scores one goal or less, and Dallas have a strong defense at home, having conceded 16 goals in 15 home matches.
FC Dallas at Colorado Rapids | September 29
Dallas follow up that critical home match by traveling to Colorado to play the Rapids. The rapids are 12 points off the pace and will have to play the Sounders and the Galaxy before its match with Dallas, which suggest they may be playing purely for pride. FC Dallas will see this as a possible road win. The team will hope it can build off a good result at home, as well as knowing that Colorado’s last home loss was a 3-1 loss to the Dynamo.
FC Dallas vs Sporting Kansas City | October 6
Sporting Kansas City suffered a shock loss 2-0 to FC Dallas in July, a result that will certainly be crucial by the end of Decision Day. The result was the first loss of a five-game stretch where it lost four games and are now no longer in control of its own destiny. FC Dallas will be counting on the aforementioned excellent Toyota Stadium defense to get a result. Luchi Gonzalez will be closely watching Kansas City as they go away to Portland, Los Angeles, and Minnesota to end the season, looking for weaknesses from Sporting KC when they are on the road.
Although the playoff race is incredibly tight and they have some tough matches, FC Dallas has good reason to believe that Decision Day will be a happy day for the team.