Earthquakes, FC Dallas battle over final two Western playoff spots
Posted on: 07 Oct, 2023 at 12:40 AM
Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
The San Jose Earthquakes and FC Dallas are holding onto the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference with the regular season winding down.
The postseason chase could see a shake-up in either direction from the clubs' meeting Saturday night in Frisco, Texas.
San Jose (10-10-12, 42 points) hasn't clinched a playoff spot yet, but it's possible for the Quakes to move into a top-four position in the West, guaranteeing a postseason home match.
Dallas (10-10-11, 41 points) has played one fewer match than San Jose because Wednesday night's home clash with Colorado was postponed due to weather.
Both teams are winless in their last three matches. The Earthquakes are coming off back-to-back draws after a loss, while Dallas has tied in its last three results.
"We're going to go full gas and go forward to keep on pushing in these last games," San Jose defender Paul Marie said.
This marks a return to Dallas for San Jose coach Luchi Gonzalez, who coached FC Dallas from 2018-21.
"We control our destiny," Gonzalez said. "We'll focus on our preparation for Dallas. (We) want to secure as much as we can."
Dallas coach Nico Estevez has tweaked the lineup to try to generate more offense. A four-forward package has been put in place.
Dallas has counted on Jesus Ferreira, who has posted 12 goals in 23 matches. All but one of his goals has come in Dallas victories.
Dallas has been beaten just three times at home this year. San Jose has won only two road matches.
"Every game is really important, especially considering how close everything is in the West," Dallas midfielder Paxton Pomykal said.
San Jose could use more boosts from Matthew Hoppe, who has tallied two goals in the past three matches.
These teams tied 1-1 on May 27 at San Jose. Benjamin Kikanovic scored for San Jose, while Dallas' Nkosi Tafari posted the tying goal in stoppage time.
"I think there's going to be a lot of emotions coming into this one," Tafari said, pointing out that some of it stems from how the first matchup between the teams ended in addition to Gonzalez's return.
Because of Wednesday night's postponement, it delayed what will be Dallas' 300th regular-season match at Frisco stadium.
--Field Level Media