FRISCO - A spot has been clinched, but now it’s all about getting the best spot available.
Here's what is on the table as FC Dallas hosts Orlando City SC on Saturday.
ON THE LINE
It’s maybe the least prominent clinching scenario, but one that does carries a lot of weight. On Saturday, with a win and some help, FCD can secure at least one home playoff match by eliminating themselves from contention at the No. 5 and No. 6 spots. That one home playoff match, though, is guaranteed to be with the season on the line though.
A Dallas win at home over Orlando City, coupled with a non-win from Portland as they travel to face Real Salt Lake, would guarantee a top-four spot in the West come late October.
That means either hosting a Knockout Round game Oct. 31-Nov. 1 (seeds 3-4) or a more preferable Leg Two home match in the Western Conference Semifinal (seeds 1-2).
Either way, Dallas would host a crucial game at Toyota Stadium.
BYE-ING FOR TOP TWO
What Dallas really wants is that coveted top-two spot, not even dealing with the Knockout Round matches in the mid-week. The Chicago Fire did their part to help FCD over the weekend by beating an LAFC team chasing from the No. 3 seed.
To reach their next goal, Dallas likely needs six points from its final four matches, which would reach the 60-point mark.
Six points from their two home games specifically - coupled with a single dropped point by LAFC over the next two weeks - would clinch it before the year’s final match.
A win Saturday vs. Orlando is important regardless. A win at home over Kansas City on Oct. 21 would be huge, creating a six-point swing and setting up a Decision Day meeting between SKC and LAFC where one could knock the other out of contention for the bye.
GAMES TO WATCH
- Oct. 6: Sporting KC vs. LA Galaxy - Just two points back of the top spot, any dropped points by SKC puts Dallas closer to a bye and possibly home-field advantage through the Conference Championship round.
- Oct. 6: Colorado Rapids vs. LAFC - This one is a catch-22 for FCD. On one hand, LAFC dropping points is a plus in the seeding race, but already four points back, Dallas just has to match their form the rest of the way. On the other, Colorado is just one point back of Orlando City SC and, if the Rapids pass the Lions over the final weeks, Dallas’ No. 3 overall pick from Colorado could slip to No. 4.
- Oct. 6: Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers - Both of these teams need every point possible down the stretch with the first of two meetings in the next three weekends. RSL is just two points above the playoff line and, at home, wants to take all three. Any dropped points by the Timbers could set Dallas up with a home playoff game.
- Oct. 8: Seattle Sounders FC vs. Houston Dynamo - Monday Night Futbol? Seattle is back with a vengeance after a big home win last weekend, but need to be perfect the rest of the way to stand a chance in a top-two bid. Houston getting a draw - or somehow a win - would put the Sounders almost completely in FCD’s rearview.