Earthquakes-FC Dallas Preview
A successful homestand has the San Jose Earthquakes still in the mix for a playoff spot on the regular season’s last day. FC Dallas can achieve an even greater accomplishment in its finale.
With the Supporters’ Shield still within reach, FC Dallas holds its final tune-up before the MLS playoffs Sunday night against a San Jose side with its season on the line.
FC Dallas (17-10-6) will be the Western Conference’s top seed and enters Decision Day tied with the New York Red Bulls with a league-high 57 points. Dallas still has a tough task at hand to claim the club’s first Supporters’ Shield, as New York owns a plus-six goal differential as it visits last-place Chicago Sunday.
San Jose (13-12-8) currently sits seventh in the West but can end a two-year playoff absence with a win and losses by either Portland, Seattle or Sporting Kansas City. The Earthquakes would also clinch a berth with a draw and a Kansas City loss to Los Angeles, or if they win and either Seattle or Kansas City tie their games.
"By the time the game comes, we will know where we stand in the playoff race, but either way we are looking for a win and nothing else," said midfielder Anibal Godoy, who had the game’s only goal in a 1-0 victory over Kansas City on Oct. 16 that capped a 2-0-1 home stretch.
Getting that desired win figures to be a challenge, however, as Dallas is 12-2-2 at Toyota Stadium in league play and has won nine of its last 10 at home across all competitions. The Earthquakes dropped a 1-0 decision in Dallas in the March 7 opener when Blas Perez scored in stoppage time.
San Jose will also be minus Godoy after he exceeded his yellow card limit in the Kansas City match.
Despite Dallas having already secured the No. 1 seed and a bye for the knockout round, coach Oscar Pareja plans on playing the majority of his regulars in preparation for next Sunday’s semifinals. Midfielder Kellyn Acosta and defenseman Zach Lloyd, both of whom missed Dallas’ 1-0 victory at Real Salt Lake on Oct. 17 to rest nagging injuries, are expected to remain out.
"We just make the first goal for us to win the conference, but we still have one game more and we’re fighting for the Supporters’ Shield, so we’re going to keep going," forward David Texeira told MLS’ official website. "We’re going to keep focus this week for San Jose."
Dallas is 2-0-1 over a three-game shutout streak and also hasn’t allowed a goal in three straight meetings with the Earthquakes, winning the first two before the clubs played to a scoreless draw June 7 in San Jose.