Crunching the numbers for home advantage

After falling in extra time in Seattle a year ago, Luchi Gonzalez set as the club’s target a home playoff game in 2020. His side can meet that goal on Sunday without relying on other results to help them.

So let’s look at where FC Dallas can land on Decision Day and break down which games can affect the Hoops’ postseason fortunes.

Let’s start with the basis of where things are right now.

MLS Western Conference standings prior to Decision Day

Points per game is the decider so that’s in bold. We also have the first two tiebreakers, wins per game and goal difference per game. I’ve included a maximum and minimum PPG as well, which at this point is just what the team’s PPG will be with a win or a loss on Sunday.

You can also use minimum PPG to gauge where a team is out of contention. For example, SKC’s minimum PPG is 1.71. Looking at the maximums, only Portland and Seattle could beat that figure so they’re the three who could earn the top spot.

Luchi Gonzalez isn’t looking past what he and his team can control.

“I think the best approach I can have, as the coach and my staff, is to just put 100% into our game and what we can control,” said Gonzalez on Friday. “The other circumstances can hurt or help. But, you know, that’s something we’ll find out after our own game. I know, it’s the win or the draw [to seal fourth place] but no, we’re going there to play for three points, to push and win the game.”

Minnesota United v FC Dallas

Starting with the obvious. FC Dallas controls its own destiny as far as a home playoff. If FC Dallas wins or ties in Minnesota, it’s a home playoff because Minnesota has to better Dallas’ result to overtake the Huntsmen in PPG.

A draw seals fourth, while a win combined with other results could see FCD in second. A win for the Loons could see Dallas drop as far as seventh.

PPGWinDrawLoss
Minnesota United FC1.551.621.521.48
FC Dallas1.621.681.591.55

LAFC v Portland Timbers

LAFC’s loss to San Jose puts them out of the running for fourth. They can still finish ahead of FC Dallas or Minnesota United, but since both teams can’t lose, that rules LAFC out of the home playoff spot.

Just a few days ago, any FC Dallas fan would have been prepared to wish the worst on Bob Bradley’s side for Decision Day. With the dramatic shift from Wednesday’s LAFC and FCD’s win, FC Dallas fans should be hoping for the California club to win…at least as long as FC Dallas wins!

A key part of the path for FC Dallas to claim second is Portland losing to drop them to 1.65 PPG, with an FCD win putting them on 1.68.

PPGWinDrawLoss
Los Angeles Football Club1.481.551.451.41
Portland Timbers1.731.781.701.65

Seattle Sounders v San Jose Earthquakes

This is a good news game for FC Dallas since San Jose cannot overtake them, and FCD could pass Seattle.

Should the Sounders fall to a rare home defeat, it opens the door for FC Dallas to pass. A win for FC Dallas and a draw in Seattle would leave the two clubs level on points per game, and the first tiebreaker of wins per game. Seattle has the edge on goal difference per game unless FCD wins in Minnesota by 12 goals.

So it’s a San Jose win or bust!

PPGWinDrawLoss
Seattle Sounders FC1.711.771.681.64
San Jose Earthquakes1.361.431.351.30

Houston Dynamo v Colorado Rapids

Of course, when it comes to FC Dallas’ arch-rival against one of its most historic rivals, it’s tough to root for either side.

The Rapids sealed their playoff place with a win in Portland on Wednesday night and could sneak ahead of Dallas if Luchi Gonzalez’s side loses in Minnesota.

Houston is last but could finish above RSL and LA Galaxy with a win. No-one wants to see that happen.

PPGWinDrawLoss
Houston Dynamo0.951.040.960.91
Colorado Rapids1.471.561.441.39

Real Salt Lake v Sporting Kansas City may affect the top spot in the conference but FC Dallas cannot pass SKC so it’s irrelevant to us.

Best Case Scenario

Potential best case scenario from a PPG table

FC Dallas in second with a first-round home game against Minnesota – winnable – and crucially the home advantage in any potential games against Portland or Seattle later on. The only game FCD would have to travel for would be a possible Western Conference final at SKC, where Dallas has been winning lately.

This would happen if:
FCD wins at MNUFC
SKC wins at RSL
Portland loses at LAFC
San Jose wins at Seattle
Colorado wins at Houston
Vancouver v LA Galaxy doesn’t affect things.

Worst Case Scenario

Potential worst case scenario from a PPG table

The worst case scenario sees FC Dallas finish as low as seventh with a trip to Portland as the first hurdle. A tie or win for Seattle over San Jose would flip their spot with Portland, if you feel that’s a tougher ask than winning in Portland.

This would happen if:
FCD loses at MNUFC
SKC wins at RSL
Portland loses at LAFC
San Jose wins at Seattle
Colorado wins at Houston
Vancouver v LA Galaxy doesn’t affect things.

MLS Playoff Schedule

Major League Soccer also announced the schedule for the MLS Cup Playoffs on Friday.

Eastern and Western Conference Round One (8 games)

Western Conference No. 1 vs. No. 8 seed, No. 2 vs No. 7 seed, No. 3 vs. No. 6 seed, Nov. 4 vs No. 5 seed. Eastern Conference No. 1 vs lower advancing Play-In Round seed, No. 2 vs. higher advancing Play-In Round seed, No. 3 vs. No. 6 seed, Nov. 4 vs No. 5 seed

Saturday, Nov. 21 
(two games)

  • 11 a.m. CT      UniMás/TUDN, TSN, TVA Sports
  • 2 p.m. CT        UniMás/TUDN, TSN, TVA Sports

Sunday, Nov. 22
(three games)

  • 3 p.m.              FS1/FOX Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports                                  
  • 6:30 p.m.         ESPN/ESPN Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports
  • 9 p.m.            ESPN/ESPN Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports

Tuesday, Nov. 24
(three games)

  • 5 p.m.              FS1/FOX Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports                                  
  • 7 p.m.              ESPN/ESPN Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports     
  • 9:30 p.m.       ESPN/ESPN Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports

Eastern and Western Conference Semifinal (4 games)

One single-elimination game, winners advance to Conference Final

Sunday, Nov. 29
(two games)

  • 2 p.m.              ABC/ESPN Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports
  • 7 p.m.              ESPN/ESPN Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports

Tuesday, Dec. 1
(one game)

  • 5:30 or 8 p.m.   FS1/FOX Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports

Wednesday, Dec. 2
(one game)

  • 5:30 or 8 p.m. FS1/FOX Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports 

Eastern and Western Conference Final (2 games).

One single-elimination game, winners advance to MLS Cup

Sunday, Dec. 6
(two games)

  • 2 p.m.              ABC/ESPN Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports                   
  • 5:30 p.m.         FS1/FOX Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports

2020 MLS Cup (1 game)

Eastern Conference Champion vs. Western Conference ChampionOne single-elimination game that will crown the 2020 MLS Cup Champion.

Saturday, Dec. 12

  • 7 p.m.              FOX, UniMás//TUDN, TSN, TVA Sports

The Playoff PPG Table

If you want to do some math on who you’d like to see meet in the playoffs, here’s the important numbers right now for the Western Conference.

PPGWinDrawLossW/GGD/G
1xSporting Kansas City1.801.861.761.710.550.55
2xPortland Timbers1.731.781.701.650.500.50
3xSeattle Sounders FC1.681.681.681.680.450.82
4xFC Dallas1.621.681.591.550.430.33
5xMinnesota United FC1.551.621.521.480.400.35
6xLos Angeles Football Club1.481.551.451.410.430.38
7xColorado Rapids1.471.561.441.390.410.18
8xSan Jose Earthquakes1.361.431.351.300.36-0.59
9eVancouver Whitecaps FC1.091.171.091.040.36-0.91
10eLA Galaxy1.051.141.051.000.29-0.76
11eReal Salt Lake1.051.141.051.000.24-0.38
12eHouston Dynamo0.951.040.960.910.18-0.41

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