Competition: Major League Soccer – FC Dallas vs. Orlando City
Venue: Toyota Stadium – Monday, July 4 – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST)
Match Odds: Dallas 8/13 – Draw 14/5 – Orlando 9/2
Dallas are a tough nut to crack at Toyota Stadium – a statement backed up by their current 16-game unbeaten run in regular season MLS matches.
Oscar Pareja’s men eased to a 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake last weekend and remain second in the West, one point behind Supporters’ Shield leaders Colorado.
The problem for Dallas of late has been their inability to score enough goals. They have only netted three in their last four – which is a poor return for a side renowned for their attacking output.
Orlando are unbeaten in five-straight games and have scored at least two goals in each of those matches.They edged past Toronto 3-2 last weekend, thanks to a dramatic late Kaka penalty, and will be looking to record back-to-back wins for just the second time this season on Monday.
Adrian Heath’s men are sixth in the East heading into the weekend and know they need to start winning more regularly to guarantee a first-ever playoff campaign.
This will be the third meeting between these sides. Dallas beat Orlando in the US Open Cup in 2011 before claiming a 2-0 MLS win last July.
FC Dallas will be without Zach Loyd, who is ruled out with concussion, while Ryan Hollingshead is a doubt with the same problem but is expected to return to the side.
Orlando are still without Pedro Ribeiro, who is out for months following back surgery. Carlos Rivas and Brek Shea are both one booking away from suspension and need to be careful.
FC Dallas’ last five: W/D/D/L/W
Orlando City’s last five: W/D/D/D/W
Key Stat: Fortress – FC Dallas are unbeaten in 16 home matches in MLS.
Key Player: Mauro Diaz – The Dallas playmaker picked up a bicycle-kick assist in last weekend’s win over Real Salt Lake. He will be looking to provide the creative spark once again for the hosts here against an Orlando side that has kept just one clean sheet all season.
FC Dallas 2-2 Orlando City – There is little to split these sides heading into an intriguing Independence Day clash. Dallas are tough to break down at home, although Orlando look to be in good shape themselves so this should be a close battle. However, goals are expected between two sides with plenty of star attacking players. Score draw.