FRISCO, Texas — FC Dallas has been drawn into Group B of the MLS is Back Tournament, which will be hosted in Orlando, Florida, from July 8 - August 11. Los Toros will face the Seattle Sounders, Vancouver Whitecaps and the San Jose Earthquakes.
FC Dallas was the first team to come off the board to join the Sounders after ball W9 was drawn. Afterwards, the wait commenced to see who would join FCD in Group B.
After starting the short 2020 season at 1-0-1 with a win over the Philadelphia Union and a draw against the Montreal Impact, FC Dallas sat in a three-way tie for fourth place in the Western Conference.
Now that the draw is done and dusted, let's take a look at each opponent that will join FC Dallas' group in Orlando.
This matchup was inevitable, wasn't it? Right off the bat, FC Dallas was drawn in Group B, joining the Seattle Sounders. Last year's first round matchup of the MLS Cup Playoffs was one to remember, and the rematch will surely be an intense one in Orlando. The Sounders just managed to come out on top in front of the home crowd last season as FC Dallas fell 4-3 after a furious second-half comeback from Los Toros.
The two teams have met in the MLS Cup Playoffs multiple times over the years, and all eyes will surely be on this matchup in July.
“[We have] a lot of respect for the opponents," FC Dallas Head Coach Luchi Gonzalez said. "Seattle is the current MLS Cup Champion. We were disappointed to lose to them last year in a game that we felt we were very close to winning. That’s a great opportunity for us to play against a good opponent.”
2020 record: 1-0-1 (Win vs. Chicago Fire, Draw vs. Columbus Crew SC)
Conference Place: 4th
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
The Whitecaps were the third team drawn to join Group B, and FC Dallas will look to bounce back from last year's results. Vancouver took the first match, 2-1, at BC Place and fought back for a 2-2 draw at Toyota Stadium last season. FC Dallas is 10-6-6 all-time against Vancouver and will look to build on that record in Orlando.
“Vancouver, in the offseason, made some dangerous adjustments," Gonzalez said. "We played them in preseason, so we look forward to have the opportunity to play them again.”
2020 record: 1-1-0 (Win vs. LA Galaxy, Loss vs. Sporting KC)
Conference Place: 7th
San Jose Earthquakes
The San Jose Earthquakes were the last team to be placed into Group B. FC Dallas and the Quakes will look to get a different result than that of both matchups last season. The two fought to 0-0 and 2-2 draws in 2019 with neither able to grab a game-winning goal.
“San Jose is a team that plays a very complicated style," Gonzalez said. "They’re aggressive, so that’s a team that we had some good battle last year. We know they’re going to look to bring their best.”
2020 Record: 0-1-1 (Draw vs. Toronto FC, Loss vs. Minnesota United FC)
Conference Place: 11th
Now that the draw is complete and the team is nearing full training, FC Dallas can now prepare for its Group Stage opponents. In Gonzalez's eyes, the opportunity is immense.
“As a team, we’re focused on game one and what we can control," Gonzalez said. "Our training next week is going to be full team training.”
Paxton Pomykal knows the pain of falling short from last season's playoff match, but his mindset isn't going to be fazed.
"In the back of our heads, we’re going to have that pain of last year, but at the end of the day, all games are the same and three points is three points," Pomykal said.
The top two finishers in each group along with the four best third-place teams will move on to the Knockout Stage. For the full details of the MLS is Back Tournament, click here.
“Our focus is going to be one day at a time, one game at a time and trying to do the best we can to change the history of our club," Gonzalez said.