[MLS: Playoff Push] An astonishing plummet has dropped FC Dallas from the conference lead into the roiling pool of teams scrapping for a wild-card spot.
THE STORY SO FAR.Maybe FC Dallas is getting back on track. A 3-1 defeat of Chivas USA Wednesday moved it into a fifth-place tie with Vancouver (36 points). The win snapped an 11-game winless streak dating back to May 25, and a slumbering attack has awakened to score seven goals in the last three games.
RECENT MOVES.Argentine midfielder Mauro Diaz started his first MLS match last week in a 2-1 loss to Portland and scored his first goal. His signing may have motivated playmaker David Ferreira, who drove the comeback win against Chivas USA by scoring a goal and setting up another after coming on as a substitute. Another recent signing, Erick, has been moved into the holding-midfielder role. Coach Schellas Hyndman has also used Michel, a wide midfielder for much of his career, in the back line due to injuries.
STYLE POINTS. Blas Perez has slumped through some indifferent games this season yet has jacked up his energy lately and leads the team in goals with nine. Ferreira has contributed eight assists, two more than Michel. Ramon Nunez has yet to start a game but tallied a goal and assist against Chivas USA in his eighth appearance as a sub. Raul Fernandez has been sensational in goal.
NEEDS WORK.Diaz’s goal in Portland snapped a three-game road goalless streak but still FCD’s away mark is 2-6-5. Some very good players -- Jair Benitez, Jackson, George John, Zach Loyd -- are struggling with inconsistency. FCD’s defeat of Chivas USA was its first this season after conceding the first goal.
FINAL ANSWER. Back-to-back home wins against San Jose Saturday and Vancouver Sept. 7 would build a solid foundation for a postseason spot.
August 24: San Jose
September 7: Vancouver
September 14: @Colorado
September 22: @New York
September 29: Columbus
October 5: @Real Salt Lake
October 12: Chicago
October 19: Seattle
October 26: @San Jose