PLAYOFF PRIMER: FC Dallas' Path to the Postseason After Week 29

FRISCO - As we round third and head for home on the 2018 MLS Regular Season, we’re going to introduce a new, weekly update on where things stand on a postseason outlook.

MAGIC NUMBER: 59

Though FCD got jumped for the top spot after a 0-0 draw with Columbus and Sporting KC’s 5-1 beat down of San Jose, other results around the league have put Dallas that much closer to clinching a playoff berth.

Coming into the weekend, the magic number in terms of points was at 62 - one more than the maximum total seventh-seeded Vancouver could achieve. With their loss to Seattle and LA Galaxy’s loss to Toronto, that number is now 59. This means that if every team wins every game from here on out and Dallas reaches 59 points, they’ll secure a playoff berth.

If Dallas wins at Vancouver this weekend, it’ll be a six point swing in the race. Barring a Galaxy win against Seattle on Sunday, it could set up a clinching scenario for FCD on the road in Portland.

With six games left, including some head-to-head meetings, there will be more points left on the board and that number will come even lower, possible even lower than where FCD sits now. In both 2016 and 2017, the sixth-seeded team in the West got in with 46 points. In 2015, it was 51. In 2014, 50.

FIGHT FOR SEEDING

With a spot in the postseason well on it’s way, the focus will soon shift to where Dallas lands in the table. The preference is always on a top-two seed, securing a bye from the mid-week Knockout Round games and home-field advantage in the Conference Semifinals.

Right now, there is a four-point cushion between FCD and third place. With six games remaining, however, anything can happen. It’s too soon to start predicting what needs to happen with the other teams to secure a bye but, simply put, FCD controls its own destiny and needs to accrue as many points as possible to get there.

GAMES TO WATCH

  • Sept. 19: Seattle vs. Philadelphia - This one doesn’t have as direct an impact at the moment, but the Sounders have won nine straight games and are making a charge up the West. They’re six points back as-is and a mid-week win would vault them into top-two contention.
  • Sept. 22: LAFC vs. San Jose - Could FCD’s top-two bid once again be put in jeopardy at the hands of the Quakes? A SKC win last week sent them to the top of the table and an LAFC win on Saturday would pull them within one game of Dallas - at least for the night.
  • Sept. 23: SKC at Philadelphia - Dallas are huge Philadelphia Union fans this week. If the home side can take points against Sporting in a midday matchup, FCD will stay within striking distance in the week’s nightcap in Vancouver.
  • Sept. 23: LA Galaxy vs. Seattle - On the surface, again you’d think a Seattle loss would be good for Dallas, but a draw in this one would be even better. A single point would put the Galaxy five points out with four games left, while still slowing down the charging Sounders. For both teams, a lot is on the line.

IF THE PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY

Knockout Round:

  • Portland Timbers at LAFC
  • Seattle Sounders FC at Real Salt Lake

Conference Semifinals:

  • No. 1 seed: Sporting KC - Open on the road vs. lowest remaining seed
  • No. 2 seed: FC Dallas - Open on the road vs. highest remaining seed
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