FRISCO, Texas — With Decision Day presented by AT&T less than two weeks away, the Audi 2019 MLS Playoffs are right around the corner. With LAFC having clinched the top spot a while ago, FC Dallas continues to be in a tight race for the six remaining spots up for grabs. Six points separate the second and eighth place teams in the Western Conference with just two or three games left in the regular season.
Since it looks like the playoff race will most likely be decided as late as Decision Day, presented by AT&T, we're going to keep track of everything going on in the Western Conference to keep the fans updated on what FC Dallas' situation would look like if the MLS Playoffs started today. FC Dallas' next match is against the ninth-placed Colorado Rapids, on Sunday, September 29 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
The new playoff format must be discussed. Not all fans know about the new format, and it will heavily affect the way teams prepare for opponents in the playoffs. This season will mark the first time MLS will have a fixed playoff bracket with a single-elimination format instead of a matchup with two legs in each round. The higher seed in each matchup will be the home team.
The playoffs will also start and finish earlier than previous seasons due to each matchup only having one game instead of two. The dates are subject to change, but the playoffs will last for about three weeks between the first match and the MLS Cup.
Now, let's get into some playoff scenarios for FC Dallas if the season ended today.
Sunday evening was a hectic one at Toyota Stadium. New York City FC jumped out to a 1-0 lead within the first minute of the match, and FC Dallas didn't equalize until the 66th minute. Both teams settled for a 1-1 draw at the end of the night, and the result saw FC Dallas jump into 6th place in the Western Conference with Portland and Minnesota United drawing 0-0. The Seattle Sounders fell to D.C. United, 0-2, after the FC Dallas game concluded, which meant FCD would remain in 6th at the end of the night. Five other teams in the west have a game in hand on FC Dallas, but for now, Minnesota United would be the one to host FCD if the playoffs started today in a No. 3 vs. No. 6 matchup.
The winner of that match would go on to face the winner of Seattle and San Jose, the No. 2 and No. 7 teams in the west, respectively. This also means a potential matchup with No. 1 Los Angeles FC wouldn't be possible until the Western Conference Final.
There are still two games left in the regular season for FC Dallas, so anything could happen between now and Decision Day on Oct. 6. If FCD wins both of its remaining games, the playoffs would surely be a guarantee along with some help from teams in the Eastern Conference. The Colorado Rapids are next on the tab for FC Dallas in what will be the team's final away match of the regular season. It will also be its most important one.