MLS Cup Playoffs, 2011: How FC Dallas Got Here

David Ferreira's absence has been an undeniable blow to FC Dallas' aspirations. (Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)

Big D Soccer's Daniel Robertson details how FC Dallas went from Supporters' Shield contenders to limping into the playoffs.

It's been a very up and down year for FC Dallas that has seen long stretches where Dallas looked unbeatable and long stretches where they've barely been able to put together two passes. Dallas is in the MLS playoffs at the #4 overall seed due to their fantastic play through the months of May, June and July. A 10-2-5 run through MLS in those three months earned Dallas an astounding 35 points that has allowed them to retain their high seeding despite their terrible run over the last few months.

Lately, FCD has been a shell of the team we saw run roughshod through MLS earlier in the year. In three MLS games in September, FC Dallas failed to score a goal in a run of 5 games without a goal, the longest such streak in franchise history. They've righted the ship a bit in the last few games, beating Chicago and Vancouver, though losses in the last week to Toronto in Champions League play and at San Jose to close out the regular season have tempered excitement a bit.

As much as any team in the league, it's almost impossible to predict how Dallas will fare in the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs. The team has the talent on the field to make a run late into the playoffs that could see the return of David Ferreira. The defense is still the same squad that took Dallas to MLS Cup last year and if speedy wingers Brek Shea and Marvin Chavez can return to form, Dallas is a very dangerous team offensively. However, FCD is also capable of dropping their Wild Card round game to New York, a team they lost to at home a little over a month ago. It will be very interesting to see how FCD comes out tomorrow as Schellas Hyndman gave most of his starters the weekend off in their final game of the regular season at San Jose.

Daniel Robertson is the managing editor for FC Dallas blog Big D Soccer. Follow him on Twitter @BigDSoccer.

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