By Dylan Butler
No team is in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals from Group C, and no teams are out either.
A single point separates three teams, with each club's fate possibly depending on what somebody else does.
Major League Soccer rivals FC Dallas and Toronto FC are tied with seven points and will meet at Pizza Hut Park on Tuesday night, while group-leading Pumas UNAM, which has eight points, will host Tauro (five points) on Wednesday night.
Toronto and FC Dallas both can reach the quarterfinals with a win. Dallas, which has lost to Toronto only once in Pizza Hut Park in six games, can also advance with a draw and a Pumas win or draw against Tauro.
Pumas advances with a win or draw, while Tauro needs to beat Pumas and hope for a draw between Toronto and Dallas to make the knockout stage.
If Tauro defeats Pumas, and Dallas and Toronto draw, all four teams will finish with eight points, in which case final positions will be determined by goal difference. Going into the final round, Pumas leads with a plus-5, Tauro zero, Dallas minus-2 and Toronto minus-3.
The first time Pumas played Tauro, the game ended in a 0-0 draw in Panama City on August 25. Since playing Toronto to a 1-1 draw in the last round of the Group Stage, Pumas has suffered consecutive 4-1 defeats to Tigres and Atlas in the Mexican Apertura.
"Something happened with the team's attitude, and the team lost focus, and they beat us with a determined will," Pumas coach Guillermo Vazquez told Deportes. "Therefore, we have to work on that aspect of our game because the team, if it has anything, is mental strength, whatever the result is. So we have to look to get it back as soon as possible."
A first-half stoppage time goal by Dallas defender Jack Stewart is all that separated Dallas and Toronto in the first meeting at BMO Field on August 25, a game that had to be replayed after being abandoned at halftime the night before due to lightning.
FC Dallas, which lost to Tauro 5-3 on September 28, had lost seven of eight until wins against Chicago on October 12 and Vancouver on Saturday, assuring it of a berth in the MLS Cup playoffs.
"When you look at the number of games we played this year and all the travel we did and suspensions and injuries, I thought it was very normal for us to hit a wall," Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman told the Dallas Morning News. "The thing I'm really proud of is how well they've been able to recover at the right time."
Toronto FC will miss the MLS Cup playoffs again, but can salvage a season by reaching the knockout stage of the CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday.
"We're excited about what's going to happen in Dallas, to use that to really kick-start next year, you know if we come out of the gate early in March with an important game," Tom Anselmi, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which runs Toronto FC, told MLSsoccer.com.
TFC is coming off having rallied for a 1-1 draw against playoff-bound Philadelphia on Saturday, a result Anselmi is hoping will carry over to the Champions League.
"Any win is momentum, any win is a sign of good things," Anselmi said. "You want to win them all, but obviously, if we were able to beat Dallas, now we start next March coming right out of training camp with an important game. That would kind of whip next year into full speed right from the get-go and it would be exciting."
Tauro, which defeated Atletico Chiriqui 1-0 on Saturday revitalized its chances with its win against FC Dallas, getting goals from five different players.