FRISCO, Texas – The long-awaited MLS is Back tournament schedule was released today revealing that FC Dallas will open its group stage against the Vancouver Whitecaps on July 9 at 9:30PM CT which will be broadcasted on TUDN. Dallas’ second Group B opponent is the defending champs Seattle Sounders on July 15 at 8AM on ESPN and ESPN Deportes before closing out the first round against the San Jose Earthquakes on July 20 at 7PM on TUDN.
|July 9, 2020||FC Dallas vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC||9:30 PM||TUDN|
|July 15, 2020||Seattle Sounders vs. FC Dallas||8:00 AM||ESPN, ESPN Deportes|
|July 20, 2020||FC Dallas vs. San Jose Earthquakes||7:00 PM||TUDN|
Importantly, the schedule announcement also included an update to the group stage format. Group A (which has six teams instead of four like the others) will have the top three teams advance to the knockout stage instead of the top two. Plus, the three highest ranked third place finishers across all groups will advance as well.
With that in mind, here's a quick breakdown of FCD's scheduled opponents for Orlando.
Game 1: July 9 at 9:30PM vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (2020 Record: 1-1-0, 7th place in West)
Historically, FC Dallas has had the upper hand against the Whitecaps (10-6-6 overall) but had some difficulties against them in the previous campaign. Dallas fell 2-1 at BC Place in the first meeting last season as Dom Badji’s 85th-minute goal came too late to mount a true comeback. In the home leg, Dallas got off to a great start and had a 2-0 lead going into the final 10 minutes. However, two late goals– including a 94th-minute equalizer from outside the box – helped the Whitecaps steal a point from Toyota Stadium. After the game, head coach Luchi Gonzalez described it as the most difficult moment of his coaching career up to that point. So, this game may come as a personal grudge match for Luchi in particular.
Game 2: July 15 at 8AM vs. Seattle Sounders (2020 Record: 1-0-1, 4th place in West)
It’s probably fair to say that this is the most highly anticipated matchup in Group B. FC Dallas and the Seattle Sounders met at CenturyLink Field in last year’s MLS Cup Playoffs with Seattle advancing in extra time despite two separate Dallas comebacks. The match ended 4-3 with a hat trick from the Sounders’ Jordan Morris but Dallas can take some solace in the fact that they were the only team to give Seattle a real scare on their march to the Cup. While it’s never easy to face the defending champions, this revenge game is likely the one FCD players and coaching staff are most looking forward once everything gets going in Orlando.
Game 3: July 20 at 7PM vs. San Jose Earthquakes (2020 Record: 0-1-1, 11th place in West)
FC Dallas and San Jose tied both their matches against one another last season. Dallas hosted the ‘Quakes in late April hoping to make it five wins out of its last six games but San Jose frustrated Luchi’s men and the game ended scoreless. The teams also shared the points in San Jose, there were goals aplenty with the score finishing 2-2 after a back and forth 90 minutes. With this being the final group stage game between two fairly evenly matched teams, it could be a very cagey contest with and may decide who advances to the knockout round.