FC Dallas

Photo credit: Minnesota United / @MNUFC

MLS Snapshot: FCD’s winless skid hits 10 in loss to MNUFC

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The game in 100 words (or less): Just when FC Dallas think they’ve hit rock-bottom, the fall a little bit farther. Oscar Pareja’s side saw its winless skid hit 10 games on Saturday, with a 4-1 loss away to Minnesota United, a side themselves with all of three wins from their last dozen games. Gone now are the games in hand that buoyed FCD’s hopes just a few weeks ago, as they’re now level on games played with many of the sides presently ahead of them in the race for a Western Conference playoff spot, save for Real Salt Lake (level on points) and the San Jose Earthquakes (one point ahead). Following their sixth loss in 10 games, FCD remain eighth in the West, a point behind the Houston Dynamo for the sixth and final playoff place (RSL play later on Saturday with a chance to go fifth themselves. Minnesota, meanwhile, distance themselves from the 10th-place LA Galaxy and sit just six points behind FCD, having rebounded nicely after an appalling start to their expansion season.

[ MORE: MLS weekend preview — ATL host MTL; RSL desperate vs. SEA ]

Three Four Five moments that mattered

14′ — Akindele arrives late, slams home for 1-0 — Tesho Akindele waltzed through the penalty area, unnoticed and unmarked, before arriving at the top of the six-yard box just in time to meet Michael Barrios’ cross.

24′ — Ramirez finishes after a beautiful through ball sets him up — Kevin Molino picked the right pass, and played it perfectly (with a bit of help from Walker Zimmerman), and Christian Ramirez made no mistake with the finish.

35′ — Ibarra volleys past Gonzalez to make it 2-1 — Ramirez turned provider on Minnesota’s second goal, lofting the ball into the penalty area for Miguel Ibarra, whose first-time take beat Jesse Gonzalez to put the home side ahead.

68′ — Shuttleworth denies Diaz from the spot — Two games, two saves from the penalty spot for Bobby Shuttleworth.

71′ — Finlay finishes some fancy build-up for 3-1 — Heartbreak on one end of the field, heartbreak on the other end of the field. Anything and everything that could go wrong for FCD, continues to go wrong for FCD.

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Man of the match: Christian Ramirez

Goalscorers: Akindele (14′), Ramirez (24′), Ibarra (35′), Finlay (71′), Danladi (88′)

Is FC Dallas legitimately at risk of missing the MLS playoffs?

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Let’s cut to the chase… Yes, FC Dallas might actually miss out on the MLS Cup playoffs.

[ MORE: Union’s Blake explains how Premier League move was derailed ]

Normally, I’d lay out some of the reasons why Dallas should be given the benefit of the doubt and give credit to manager Oscar Pareja for the tremendous job that he has done in the past, however, this year is different.

Entering 2017, Pareja’s squad was a clear favorite not only to win the Western Conference, but also contend for MLS Cup. Now, there’s a very real risk that Dallas won’t have the opportunity to even make a playoff appearance, which would be the first time since 2013.

[ MORE: Assessing USMNT star Christian Pulisic on his 19th birthday ]

The Texas side has gone winless over its last nine matches, taking just four points out of a possible 27 during that span. It’s time to worry in Dallas.

The biggest surprise about Dallas’ skid — which has lasted nearly two months — isn’t the club’s back line but instead its attack. The eighth-place side out West has scored just seven times during its nine-match winless run and 39 times overall this season, which ranks 13th best in MLS.

That should come as a massive surprise to those that watch Dallas on a regular basis considering the talent that the squad boasts up front.

The club reportedly had the opportunity to sell off attackers Maxi Urruti and Michael Barrios this summer as Argentine side San Lorenzo had significant interest in both players, which makes the team’s struggles even more strange.

Urruti currently leads the squad in goals this season (12), while Barrios holds the team’s lead for assists, recording 13 with six matches remaining.

Dallas now has about a month left to make its case — and prove it on the field — to reach the playoffs.

Although the team’s schedule the rest of the way is favorable, only facing one team currently in the playoff mix, Dallas still has to play four of its final six games on the road. The team will have to take advantage of the fact that they have several games in hand to close out the regular season, although playing two games a week is always a challenge.

MLS Snapshot: ATLUTD run wild on FCD in stadium opener

Photo credit: Atlanta United / @ATLUTD
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The game in 100 words (or less): Stock up — Atlanta United. The expansion side looked favorites to qualify for the playoffs before Sunday’s 3-0 drubbing of FC Dallas, but following that lopsided victory in their first-ever game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Tata Martino’s side looks destined to climb the Eastern Conference standings over the final two months of the regular season. With three (or four) games in hand on just about everyone above them, and seven of their final nine games to be played at home, third place is very much in play. Stock way, way, way down — FC Dallas. Eight games without a win (five losses), FCD have slipped all the way to seventh in the Western Conference. Oscar Pareja’s side isn’t scoring goal, but more importantly they’re conceding a boatload (19-7 combined score during that eight-game skid). Fortunately for FCD, there aren’t five four three good teams in the West, let alone the six it would require for them to miss the playoffs.

[ MORE: MLS Power Rankings — Week 26 | Weekend preview ]

Three moments that mattered

14′ — Gonzalez Pirez taps it home for a 1-0 lead — You might have been hoping for a more memorable first goal in stadium history, but they all count the same in the end.

26′ — Hedges clears Martinez’s shot off the line — Martinez had beaten Jesse Gonzalez, but Matt Hedges never gave up on the play and arrived in the nick of time to keep the deficit at one goal. At the time, it seemed a potentially game-changing event. Alas…

46′ — Martinez makes it 2-0 after 27 seconds — Walker Zimmerman committed an indefensible turnover in the midfield, which is the last thing you want to do against Atlanta. Watch how quickly (six seconds from center circle to ball-in-net) they transition from pressing to attacking. (That’s 11 assists on the season — second in this game — for 23-year-old Miguel Almiron.)

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Man of the match: Miguel Almiron

Goalscorers: Gonzalez Pirez (14′), Martinez (46′), Garza (68′)

MLS Preview: Atlanta United opens new stadium; Fire clash with Red Bulls

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On a busy week of MLS action, let’s take a deep dive at this weekend’s top three matchups.

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Atlanta United vs. FC Dallas — Sunday, 3:30 p.m. ET

After six months at Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta United finally get to take the field at its permanent home stadium.

Mercedez-Benz stadium plays host to Atlanta United against FC Dallas as the two teams battle for playoff places in their respective conferences. Both teams are sitting in the last playoff places available and need to get wins to get back on track.

Atlanta United is winless in its last four, but the club get Designated Player Miguel Almiron back from international duty. He and Josef Martinez will be hoping Yamil Asad can find them in space to bring the Atlanta fans to their feet.

FC Dallas on the other hand are winless in its last seven games but have drawn two of its last three matches, maybe a sign of positive results on the horizon.

Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls — Saturday, 4 p.m. ET

The Fire returned to winning ways last Saturday with a 1-0 win on the road over the Montreal Impact and now they return home to face Jesse Marsch and the Red Bulls.

The Red Bulls sit just four points behind the Fire in the Eastern Conference Standings but have struggled on the road this season, winning just four times out of 12 games.

It will be interesting to watch how the midfield partnership of former Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty and Bastien Schweinsteiger deals with the Red Bulls’ high press and short passing system.

Seattle Sounders vs. LA Galaxy — Sunday, 9 p.m. ET

For the second time in a little more than a month, Sigi Schmid and his LA Galaxy side face his former club, the Sounders.

Schmid won his first game as Galaxy manager last weekend with a 3-0 decision over the Colorado Rapids but it’s been tough sledding for a team that’s dealt with serious injuries across the lineup and international call-ups all season long.

Seattle meanwhile is unbeaten in its last five with two draws after three straight wins, and as an added boost, the club gets Jordan Morris and Clint Dempsey back from international duty with the U.S. Men’s National Team. It’s unclear whether Joevin Jones will play, after departing from the Sounders without permission to join up with the Trinidad and Tobago National Team.

Full MLS schedule (All Times E.T.)

Saturday

Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls — 4 p.m.
Toronto FC vs. San Jose Earthquales — 5 p.m.
New York City FC vs. Portland Timbers — 5:30 p.m.
D.C. United vs. Orlando City SC — 7 p.m.
New England Revolution vs. Montreal Impact — 7:30 p.m.
Minnesota United vs. Philadelphia Union — 8 p.m.
Houston Dynamo vs. Colorado Rapids — 8:30 p.m.
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Real Salt Lake — 10 p.m.

Sunday

Columbus Crew vs. Sporting Kansas City — 1 p.m.
Atlanta United vs. FC Dallas — 3:30 p.m.
Seattle Sounders vs. LA Galaxy — 9 p.m.

MLS follow live — Impact host Fire, Red Bulls visit struggling Dallas

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Most of the attention with be on the international stage this weekend as World Cup qualifying continues across the globe, but Major League Soccer rolls on despite the “break.”

[ MORE: NYCFC’s Alex Ring scores golazo for Finland ]

Three potential playoff teams in the Eastern Conference will take the field on Saturday, including the Montreal Impact and Chicago Fire, who will do battle north of the border.

The two sides enter the match on very different paths, with the Fire losing six of their last seven fixtures, while the Impact are winners in four of their last five.

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Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls will travel west to face FC Dallas, who has had significant struggles of their own recently. A Red Bulls win could see Jesse Marsch and Co. leap up to third place in the East.

Here’s a look at the four matches slated for Saturday night around MLS.

New England Revolution vs. Orlando City — 7 p.m. ET
Montreal Impact vs. Chicago Fire — 7 p.m. ET
FC Dallas vs. New York Red Bulls — 9 p.m. ET
LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids — 11 p.m. ET