FRISCO, Texas — FC Dallas is the reigning Supporters' Shield winner but this year is simply hoping to make the postseason.
It has been a disastrous campaign for FCD, yet even so the North Texas side controlled its own playoff destiny as recently as Sunday. But things went from bad to worse after a 4-0 defeat at the hands of the Seattle Sounders combined with the San Jose Earthquakes securing a draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps last weekend. Now, FCD needs to better San Jose's result and equal Real Salt Lake's this weekend to make the playoffs.
Both Dallas and San Jose host Western Conference rivals eliminated from playoff competition with the LA Galaxy traveling to Toyota Stadium and Minnesota United making the trip to Avaya Stadium. Meanwhile, Real Salt Lake faces playoff-bound Sporting Kansas City at Rio Tinto Stadium.
While FCD needs a win and some help from the Loons to guarantee a playoff spot, it's the former the squad is planning to focus on this weekend. The team hasn't discussed any sort of system for relaying the result of the San Jose game, and the players aren't expecting to get updates.
"I know the coaches will be. I’m not sure they’ll be telling us. I’m sure we’ll know from how we switch up the tactics during the game kind of what’s going on," center back Matt Hedges said. "I think it might almost be better for us to just play and try to get the three points and let the players on the field not worry about what’s going on in the other game."
Even the coaches won't be too focused on what's happening out west, though. Coach Oscar Pareja said that after a disappointing season, he and his staff will be focused on avoiding another disappointment.
"Listen, we need to get the result here. We need to beat LA. The other thing is just something I can’t control," Pareja said. "I don’t think we need to change or think about changing attitudes from the first minute to the 90th. I think the urgency should be there. Maybe just in the second half if we need to take some risks, that’s different. But the urgency and the intensity in the game has to be there all the time whether we know the result or not. But we’ll have people that tell us, for sure."
South American qualification recently provided an example of what can happen in today's modern era, with Falcao appearing to coax Peruvian players into taking things easy for a mutually beneficial draw with results elsewhere sending Colombia to the World Cup and Peru to the playoff. But we're unlikely to see a similar scene in Frisco, with FCD looking to get past the Galaxy and keep their hopes alive rather than be concerned about doing the minimum.
"I still don’t know anything about that," Ecuador international Carlos Gruezo told Goal of FCD's plans for communication. "I think the first thing is just worrying about our game, about getting the three points for us. After that we’ll realize what’s happened in the other game."