It turns out that being the number one seed doesn’t guarantee FC Dallas a peachy matchup in the first round of the playoffs.
Last night’s epic first round of MLS Cup Playoff matches provided soccer fans across the US with a ton of great theater. Not only did both games come down to the wire, but both had comebacks, goals galore, and plenty of drama.
One of the perks of being the number one seed is that you get to sit at home and enjoy a night or two off as your foes in the conference vie for coveted knockout round wins. FC Dallas players and fans had plenty to digest in last night’s games.
While we have a bit more clarity as to who FC Dallas might come up against in the first round, it’s still down to two very formidable teams. Let’s break it down.
Implications of Being Number One
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Because we are the number one seed, we have already avoided having to play in the knockout rounds. We also guarantee that we will play the highest ranked team in each round of the playoffs.
What this means is that, despite any picture you might have seen of what the playoff bracket might look like, FC Dallas will play whichever team is ranked highest of the teams leftover in the Western Conference.
Who We Can Play
With last night’s incredible win at home over the LA Galaxy, Seattle is one of the teams that FC Dallas could potentially come up against in the Western Conference semifinals. As a four seed, Seattle is the most difficult team, seed-wise, that FC Dallas could face.
Portland and Sporting Kansas City play the final Western Conference knockout game this evening in Portland. As a number three seed, there is no way that FCD would play Portland, as they are a lower seed than Seattle, who has already won a game.
However, as a number six seed, should Sporting KC win tonight’s game, they would be the team that FCD would face in their first playoff round.
Neither of these matchups is one that FC Dallas fans will be licking their chops over. Sure, fans have every reason to be optimistic about what is to come, but neither team has been particularly kind to FC Dallas this season.
All that to say, FCD does have a record of positive results against both teams. One of our most convincing wins of the season came against Sporting KC early in the season when we began our torrid start to the campaign.
Equally impressive was the 0-0 draw we were able to salvage at home against Seattle after going down a man for the majority of the match.
Having said all this, both teams still present legitimate obstacles to an FC Dallas team that is riding a huge waive of momentum into the playoffs. Even though FCD players will tell you that they don’t mind who they play, this fan is personally hoping that it is Sporting KC.
After seeing how dangerous Seattle was to end the season and how lethal they looked last night at home to LA, I would be much more willing to bet my house on an FCD victory over SKC than the Sounders. Not that I’ll be betting my house, but, you know, it’s fun to consider.
Tonight’s match will bring a final bit of clarity. Hopefully everyone gets really, really tired (you can never wish injuries on your opponents) and they aren’t able to fully recover before Sunday’s kickoff with us. Yeah, that’s likely. Let’s hope for that! Sporting KC, we’re rooting for you, but not too hard.
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