FRISCO, Texas — Amidst the lows of a 13-game winless run and the highs of stoppage-time winners against Real Salt Lake and Vancouver, the FC Dallas playoff dream has stayed alive through it all.
If only just.
However, in four tantalizing hours on Sunday afternoon in the Pacific Northwest, we will find out if FCD can push the playoff race with Vancouver to the final week of the season or if Schellas Hyndman’s squad will miss out on the MLS Cup playoffs for the first time since 2009.
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“We are where we are, that’s not going to change,” Hyndman said of his team’s current situation. “I think the big thing now is, we need a little bit of help from Portland.”
Indeed, the Dallas playoff dream could finally be taken off life support even before the opening whistle blows at Seattle's CenturyLink Field on Sunday (9 pm ET, ESPN). Portland and Vancouver will face off two hours before the FC Dallas match with the Timbers needing a win or draw against their Cascadia foes to even give Dallas a chance of playoff survival.
Still, Hyndman knows that regardless of what happens in Vancouver, none of it will matter if Dallas can’t earn a result against the Sounders.
“Even if we get the help from Portland, we’ve still got to get the job done,” Hyndman said. “That’s what I’ve always been focused on was to get a good performance in your games and at the end of the season you hope you get enough good performances that you can reach your goals.”
If Dallas can just survive this weekend with their playoff hopes intact, the idea of catching Vancouver is not entirely far-fetched. The final matchday of the 2012 campaign will see the Whitecaps travel to high-flying Real Salt Lake, while FC Dallas host Chivas USA.
It’s a small ray of hope, but in a season that has looked done and dusted for FCD on many occasions, it’s one they’ll take.
“We have a chance,” midfielder Andrew Jacobson said. "It’s not that far out of reach. We obviously have to take care of our business and all we can focus on is what we can handle. We’re not playing Vancouver again so there’s no point in speculating on what could happen in their game. All we can do is get three points and hope for the best.”
Daniel Robertson covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com.