2023 Season

Decision Day: How FC Dallas Can Qualify for the 2023 Playoffs

10.16 playoff scenario DL

FRISCO, Texas - It all comes down to this. The fate of FC Dallas' 2023 season comes down to Decision Day, where the club will head to California to take on the LA Galaxy Saturday, Oct. 21 for a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

As usual, there are a lot of scenarios surrounding Decision Day. As it stands, FCD is  above the playoff line in 8th place, which is good enough to earn a place in the all-new Wildcard round between the 8th and 9th placed teams. If the season ended today, Dallas would host 9th-place San Jose Earthquakes in the Wildcard game to see who advances to the Round 1 of the Playoffs (which, as of this season, is a best-of-three series). But with 28 of 29 teams playing on Decision Day, a lot can change.

Here's an overview of how FC Dallas can qualify for the postseason under different scenarios (as best as we can tell at this time):

If FC Dallas wins...

  • FCD will qualify for the playoffs with a win as either 7th seed or 8th seed
  • FCD will qualify for Round 1 as the 7th seed if they beat LA Galaxy AND the Portland Timbers tie/lose against Houston Dynamo. If the Timbers win, Dallas would enter the Wildcard game as the 8th seed

If FC Dallas ties...

  • FCD can qualify for the playoffs with a tie if any of the following results happen:
    • Portland Timbers lose to Houston
    • or San Jose Earthquakes lose or tie with Austin
    • or Sporting Kansas City and Minnesota United tie each other
  • FCD can finish as high as 7th or as low as 10th with a tie, depending on the matches above

If FC Dallas loses...

  • FCD can qualify for the Wildcard game despite a loss IF:
    • San Jose loses to Austin
    • or Kansas City and Minnesota tie each other
Screenshot 2023-10-16 at 3.58.56 PM

For reference, here are MLS's tiebreaker rules:

In the event that two or more teams finish the regular season with an equal number of points (or points per game), the following tiebreakers will be used. If the standard of points per game is used, the tiebreakers will be calculated on a per-game basis.

  1. Total number of wins
  2. Goal Differential (GD)
  3. Goals For (GF)
  4. Fewest Disciplinary Points* per match
  5. Away Goals Differential
  6. Away Goals
  7. Home Goals Differential
  8. Home Goals For
  9. Coin Toss (tie of two clubs) or Drawing of Lots (tie of three or more clubs)

After a winner of the MLS Regular Season tiebreaker is determined, any clubs that remain tied from the first round of tiebreaker shall go through a second round of the MLS Regular Season tiebreaker procedures in order to determine team standings.