Sporting Kansas City-FC Dallas Preview

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All FC Dallas needs is a home victory this weekend to secure its spot in the MLS playoffs. Considering the way it has played of late, that sounds easier than it could be to achieve.

Looking to end a four-game winless rut, Dallas hosts an eliminated Sporting Kansas City side on Sunday’s Decision Day.

Dallas (12-12-9) has been outscored 8-1 during an 0-2-2 stretch that followed consecutive home victories over Houston and FC Cincinnati to conclude August. Despite that rough patch, FCD owns the seventh and final playoff spot in the Western Conference – one point ahead of San Jose and three up on Colorado heading into the final day of the regular season.

The easiest path to the postseason is a victory Sunday, but Dallas can also get in with a draw and loss or tie by San Jose. Or, if the Earthquakes lose to Portland and Rapids lose or draw Supporters’ Shield winner Los Angeles FC.

While FCD must find a way to regroup and rebound from a ugly 3-0 loss at Colorado last weekend, the team seems eager for the challenge that awaits.

“We’re embracing the pressure,” coach Luchi Gonzalez told Dallas’ official website. “We’re embracing the stress of it because stress is what makes us grow as human beings. No one has ever achieved anything special without being in a stressful moment.

“We are in a stressful situation and we’re going to look at it in a positive way and embrace the opportunity that it provides us.”

While that’s a healthy attitude and the team is 9-1-6 at home this season, Dallas still needs to improve things in the back-end. And, generate some offense that’s posted just Zdenek Ondrasek’s fifth goal of 2019, back in the 66th minute of a 1-1 home draw with New York City FC on Sept. 22.

Dominique Badji (six goals) and Jesus Ferreira (seven goals) scored 20 minutes apart in Dallas’ 2-0 victory at Kansas City on July 20.

Set to miss the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons, Kansas City will try to end a disappointing campaign on a positive note. It might have a little momentum after snapping a four-game losing streak with last weekend’s 2-2 home draw over Portland. Krisztian Nemeth (eight goals) equalized in the 30th minute and Daniel Salloi put SKC ahead just out of halftime. However, Portland leveled the match on the 85th to share the spoils.

“Just to finish the season on a good note, with three points, it would be nice,” Salloi told Kansas City’s official website. “We should have won the game against Portland. It would have been even nicer.

“I think everyone is motivated to finish the season with a win, and get going with (2020).”

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