The simplest way for FC Dallas to enjoy a successful Decision Day is to get the three points that come with a victory.
Any other result would require scoreboard watching for outside assistance, so FC Dallas hopes they can take the easiest path to a playoff berth Saturday night when they visit the Los Angeles Galaxy in Carson, Calif.
FC Dallas (10-10-13, 43 points) currently hold the eighth spot and share an identical record with San Jose. Dallas also has the same point total as Portland, which owns one more victory, while also holding a two-point lead on Sporting Kansas City and Minnesota United, who face each other.
If Dallas can't get the win, it can get in via four other scenarios.
A draw and a Portland loss to Houston also get them in. Dallas can also qualify by getting a draw with a San Jose loss or draw.
If both San Jose and Dallas lose, Dallas would hold the tiebreaker. The final way would require a Kansas City draw against Minnesota.
Dallas is in this position because of five straight draws since its 3-1 win over Real Salt Lake on Sept. 20. That result is the only victory during a seven-game unbeaten streak that continued with last week's 1-1 draw against Colorado, where Alan Velasco scored his fourth goal of the year.
"I think we have to go with the same mindset, you know, that we know their strengths and weaknesses that the LA Galaxy have, and we try to expose our strengths against them and in trying to get first of all the best performance that we can and get out the result that put us in in the playoffs," Dallas coach Nico Estevez said.
Los Angeles (8-13-12, 36 points) will miss the playoffs for the fifth time in seven seasons thanks to a defense that has allowed a league-worst 63 goals. The Galaxy are 0-2-3 in their past five and allowed at least two goals for the 21st time when it settled for a 2-2 draw against Salt Lake a week ago.
"We need to finish the season strong and this has already started the preseason for the next season," Los Angeles defender Maya Yoshida said. "Like today, Salt Lake had to win for the playoffs but we just play with nothing to lose but I want to win every game."
--Field Level Media