We’ve got a little more than one month remaining in the 2016 regular season, and FC Dallas have a real chance to become the first team in MLS history to win the domestic treble.
No MLS team has ever won MLS Cup, the US Open Cup or Canadian Championship, and the Supporters’ Shield in the same season.
Dallas are in excellent position in the chase for all three trophies. They hold the lead in the Supporters’ Shield standings (by four points) they’ll host New England in the Open Cup final on Tuesday night and they’re sure to be among the favorites for MLS Cup when the playoffs kick off in late October.
US Open Cup
Out of the three competitions, the Open Cup is within reach of FC Dallas. Resurgent New England are now in 14th-place in the league table, but they have been dreadful on the road, posting a 3-8-5 record in their 16 away matches across all competitions this year. Dallas, on the other hand, have been excellent at home, where they’re 12-1-5 in all competitions in 2016. Weird things sometimes happen in the Open Cup, but Dallas will be heavy favorites to claim the competition for the second time in club history.
Their path to the Open Cup is clear, but it’d be a bit silly to prognosticate on Dallas’ road to MLS Cup with this much regular season remaining. It does look like the club will have a real shot at home field advantage throughout the playoffs, however, something that could seriously boost their chances come November and December.
Which brings us to the Supporters’ Shield. Dallas currently lead the league in the overall table and in points per game, but they’ll have to outlast some serious competition and survive a brutal closing schedule to take home the trophy.
There are three teams (Colorado, Toronto, LA) within five points and the LA Galaxy are just four point behind FCD. Among the chasers, the Rapids have two games in hand -- win those and they'll overtake Dallas atop the league standings. Thanks to last Saturday's 1-0 victory in Frisco, the Rapids have set themselves up nicely for the stretch run.
Dallas’ tough schedule – the hardest of any of the Shield contenders – makes things even more difficult. It’s congested (FCD will play eight matches in all competitions between in the 40 days from Sept. 13 through the end of the regular season on Oct. 23) and rough, with FCD facing the second-place LA Galaxy on two occasions (Oct. 1 and Oct. 23).
The home/road split also doesn’t look great for FCD, who will play two of their five remaining regular season contests at home. Meanwhile, Toronto FC have five home matches and just one away date remaining. Colorado will play just three of their remaining seven games on the road.
Here’s a full look at Dallas’ schedule. It’s not pretty:
Sept. 13 vs. New England – US Open Cup final
Dallas will be big favorites, but, despite their record, the Revs are talented. Weirder things have happened in the Open Cup than a potential upset in this one. Dallas will have to go full bore.
Sept. 17 at New York City
FCD’s brutal week will come to a close at Yankee Stadium. NYCFC haven’t been good at home, but it’d be pretty miraculous if Dallas earn a result in the Bronx after their huge match earlier in the week against the Revs. Pareja would be thrilled with a point here.
Sept. 24 at RSL
The hits keep coming. Dallas will follow their difficult week with a trip to Rio Tinto Stadium, where RSL are an undefeated 8-0-6 this year. Dallas will face lineup questions in this one, as Pareja will have to balance his desire for the Shield with FCD’s CCL chase.
Sept. 28 vs. Suchitepéquez (CCL)
Dallas are currently in first in CCL’s Group H, but that might not be the case when this one kicks off. Suchitepéquez are 1-0-0 in the competition and would move past 1-0-1 FCD with a win at already-eliminated Real Estelí on Sept. 13. If the Guatemalan club beats their Nicaraguan foes, they’d seal the group with a win against Dallas. That could mean fielding a full-strength lineup for Pareja.
Oct. 1 vs. LA
Some of FCD’s regulars could get a rest here if they see action earlier in the week. LA won’t have Gyasi Zardes, but, as always, they’ll be a tough, tough out this time of year.
Oct. 16 vs. Seattle
The Sounders could be out of it at this point – or they could be fighting for their playoff lives. Either way, with Nicolas Lodeiro in the fold, FCD will face a stiff test from Seattle, especially as it’ll be their first contest in a three-match week.
Oct. 20 at Suchitepéquez (CCL)
There’s no doubt that Dallas will be huge favorites against Suchitepéquez at home. What isn’t clear is exactly what this match will mean. FCD could have already clinched a berth in the CCL quarters, have already been eliminated or could need a win/draw to move on.
Oct. 23 at LA
Dallas won’t want the Shield to come down to this. They won at LA in the Open Cup, but that wasn’t in the main StubHub Center stadium, where the Galaxy have only lost five times over the last four regular seasons.
They just might be able to pull it off, but Dallas are going to have to work – and seriously test their depth – if they want to win the treble.
Check out the table below for a full rundown of the MLS teams who came closest to pulling off the feat:
|Year||Team||MLS Cup||Supporters' Shield||US Open Cup|
|1997||DC||Won||Won||Lost final to DAL 0-0 (5-3)|
|1999||DC||Won||Won||Lost to Charleston Battery in first match|
|2000||KC||Won||Won||Lost to Chicago Sockers in first match|
|2000||CHI||Lost to KC 1-0||Tied KC on points, lost shield on tiebreaker||Won|
|2002||LA||Won||Won||Lost final to CLB 1-0|
|2003||CHI||Lost to SJ 4-2||
|2004||KC||Lost final to DC 3-2||Tied CLB on points, lost Shield on goals for tiebreaker||Won|
|2011||LA||Won||Won||Lost quarterfinal to SEA 3-1|
|2014||SEA||Lost West Championships to LA on away goals||Won||Won|