On Decision Day presented by AT&T, FC Dallas head to Colorado in need of three points against the Rapids (4:30 PM ET | TV & streaming info) to skip the Knockout Round and earn a first-round bye in the playoffs. They're stuck in need of a result because of their 3-0 loss at home to Sporting Kansas City.
The trend of struggling in front of goal has been an alarming one for playoff-bound FCD, who have scored just twice in their last four games, both against Orlando City, who have conceded more goals this season than any other side in MLS history.
"I had a couple opportunities I could have put in, and it's something that's just fuel to the fire," striker Dominique Badji said. "You just want to get out there and keep getting those reps in. During the game, instinct takes over."
On top of the accustomed Decision Day stakes Sunday, there will be a personal feel to proceedings at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. It's the first time that Dallas and Colorado will play since their trade, in which FCD swapped Homegrown Kellyn Acosta for Badji. FCD head coach Oscar Pareja is looking forward to it – but will it be weird to line up opposite a player the team knows so well?
"I know many others," Pareja laughed. "Kellyn is one of our favorites here, a person that we loved. We're going to share a competition in a different jersey. [It] will be a bit awkward but at the same time it's part of this game, it's part of our journey... It's the same with Dominique for them."
Badji was a bit less romantic about returning to Colorado, as he has one thing on his mind: three points.
"Honestly, I just want to win," Badji said. "Before the game it's going to be nice to see some of my old teammates, my old fans. But once the whistle blows, there are no friends on the field. I'm just looking forward to getting that win and getting that bye."
To get the win Badji desires, the team's finishing will have to improve from recent games, including the playoff-like encounter against SKC.
"It was a pure playoff mode game. It was a tight situation, you've got to be precise," Pareja said. "We have to be calm and have the confidence in the players. I don't want to make it a scandal about not scoring. The players have earned the possibility to fight to the last game for the first spots. I respect that from them and know they will do the job."