New York City FC vs FC Dallas | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: New York City FC vs FC Dallas

Yankee Stadium – Sunday, April 29 2018 – 18:30 ET (23:30 BST)

UK TV Coverage: Live on Sky Sports Football

New York City FC vs FC Dallas: Preview

New York City FC are looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season when they host still-unbeaten FC Dallas on Sunday night. The visitors are the last remaining unbeaten team in the league but travel to Yankee Stadium as underdogs.

New York City got handed their first defeat in emphatic style, as Portland ran out 3-0 winners at Providence Park last weekend. NYCFC couldn’t handle the Timbers’ intensity and ultimately paid the price. It was the first time they failed to score in an MLS game since September (also against the Timbers).

Patrick Vieira’s men are expected to bounce back here. They are a real force at Yankee Stadium, having won all three home games so far this season by an aggregate scoreline of 8-1. However, they’ve still yet to record a victory over FC Dallas since entering the league in 2015.

FC Dallas haven’t really impressed all that much but the fact they’ve yet to lose shows Oscar Pareja’s men have the right attitude. They beat Philadelphia Union 2-0 last weekend to move up to third in the West.

It’s unlikely that Dallas will come out attacking NYCFC on Sunday night. Instead, they’ll likely look to frustrate the hosts before breaking with pace on the counter. A draw would still represent a good result for the visitors as they look to keep their unbeaten streak going.

This will be the fourth clash between the two sides and NYCFC are still searching for their first win over Dallas. The past two games have both ended in score draws after Dallas won 2-1 in the first-ever meeting at Toyota Stadium in 2015.

New York City FC vs FC Dallas: Team News

New York City FC

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: None.

🚑 Out: Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (hamstring).

FC Dallas

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Kellyn Acosta (sports hernia surgery), Jesse Gonzalez (finger strain).

🚑 Out: Brandon Servania (compartment syndrome), Jesus Ferreira (core muscle repair surgery), Paxton Pomykal (right meniscus surgery), Maynor Figueroa (right knee strain).

New York City FC vs FC Dallas: Key Stats

NYCFC’s MLS form: N/A

FC Dallas’ MLS form: N/A

Key stat: NYCFC haven’t lost consecutive MLS matches in just over two years – last losing two in a row in April 2016.

New York City FC vs FC Dallas: Prediction

New York City FC 2-1 FC Dallas: This could be an intriguing battle. Portland showed last weekend that this NYCFC team can be beaten with the right game plan and Dallas will undoubtedly arrive looking to frustrate the hosts. However, New York City FC have been far too good at home so far this campaign and they will expect to hand Dallas their first defeat of the season here.

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FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers

Toyota Stadium – Saturday, March 24 2018 – 15:30 ET (19:30 GMT)

UK TV Coverage: Live on Sky Sports Football

FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers: Preview

FC Dallas welcome Portland Timbers to Toyota Stadium as one of just five Week 4 MLS fixtures as a result of the international break. The Timbers are looking for their first points of the season after losing their opening two fixtures.

FC Dallas had to wait a long time to play their second game of the season but made the rest count as they saw off Seattle Sounders 3-0 last Sunday. Dallas opened the season with a 1-1 draw against Real Salt Lake before having a bye week in Week 2.

Saturday’s clash with Portland will be the third of four-straight home games to open the season. They have picked up four points so far and will be expecting to beat the Timbers here.

Portland haven’t made the start they were expecting. New head coach Giovanni Savarese has started life in MLS with back-to-back losses. However, both have come on the road and this will be their third of five consecutive away games to begin 2018.

The Timbers have had two weeks to reflect on their worrying 4-0 loss at the Red Bulls last time out. They will hope to be stronger at the back and will need to try and create more chances if they are to leave Texas with anything on Saturday.

This will be the 19th regular season meeting between the Western Conference sides. Dallas hold a narrow advantage based on previous fixtures, having won seven compared to Portland’s six. There have been five draws, including their only meeting at Toyota Stadium last season. Portland won 2-0 at Providence Park in the most recent clash last June.

FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers: Team News

FC Dallas

🌎 International duty: Tesho Akindele (Canada).

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Jesse Gonzalez (knee).

🚑 Out: Kellyn Acosta (hernia), Brandon Servania (compartment syndrome), Jesus Ferreira (Core Muscle Repair surgery).

Portland Timbers

🌎 International duty: David Guzman (Costa Rica), Andy Polo (Peru).

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Diego Chara (foot), Alvas Powell (foot).

🚑 Out: Vytas (thigh), Jeff Attinella (thigh), Roy Miller (Achilles).

FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers: Key Stats

FC Dallas’ MLS form: D/W

Portland Timbers’ MLS form: L/L

Key stat: FC Dallas are unbeaten in eight home games in MLS (W3 D5).

FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers: Prediction

FC Dallas 3-1 Portland Timbers: Portland will hope to have made good use of their two-week break but the fact is they haven’t looked anywhere near good enough so far and Dallas are expected to be too strong. The hosts did well to tear a weakened Sounders side apart last weekend and could have scored more than three. If they can take their chances, expect them to run out comfortable winners for the second-straight weekend.

FC Dallas vs Seattle Sounders | 2018 MLS Match Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: FC Dallas vs Seattle Sounders

Toyota Stadium – Sunday, March 18 2018 – 17:00 ET (21:00 GMT)

UK TV Coverage: Live on Sky Sports Football

FC Dallas vs Seattle Sounders: Preview

FC Dallas welcome Seattle Sounders to Toyota Stadium in Sunday’s lone MLS clash. The Western Conference rivals will be looking to challenge at the very top of the standings this season, so Sunday’s contest should be a good one, even at this early stage of the season.

Dallas have had a long time to prepare for Sunday’s clash. They haven’t played since the opening day of the season, when they drew 1-1 at home to Real Salt Lake. The 15-day rest will mean they are fresh, but the lack of match practice might also be a hindrance for Oscar Pareja’s men.

FC Dallas are unbeaten in seven MLS games at Toyota Stadium and will be looking to get three points on the board against the Sounders on Sunday. They have plenty of talent in attack to hurt what looks likely to be an injury-hit Seattle team.

The Sounders will still be hurting following Wednesday’s 3-0 CCL loss at Chivas de Guadalajara. That defeat saw them eliminated from the quarterfinals of the Champions League 3-1 on aggregate. What was perhaps more damaging though were the number of injuries picked up before and during that game.

Nicolas Lodeiro was ruled out before the game with a foot sprain before Chad Marshall and Will Bruin were substituted with injuries during the first-half. It’s unlikely any of the trio will be in action at Dallas.

Brian Schmetzer has a tough job on his hands to get anything from Sunday’s game. He has been left shorthanded and with a team that needs a pick-me-up. They too haven’t played an MLS game since opening weekend, when they lost 1-0 to LAFC at home. There’s a feeling that getting anything from Sunday’s game would have to be seen as a positive.

FC Dallas vs Seattle Sounders: Team News

FC Dallas

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: None.

🚑 Out: Kellyn Acosta (hernia surgery), Anton Nedyalkov (Achilles tendon), Brandon Servania (Compartment Syndrome surgery).

Seattle Sounders

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Will Bruin (head), Chad Marshall (eye), Victor Rodriguez (undisclosed), Nicolas Lodeiro (foot sprain).

🚑 Out: Jordan Morris (torn ACL), Osvaldo Alonso (thigh).

FC Dallas vs Seattle Sounders: Key Stats

FC Dallas’ MLS form: L

Seattle Sounders’ MLS form: L

Key stat: FC Dallas are unbeaten in their past eight home games (including playoffs) against Seattle Sounders, winning five and drawing three of those clashes.

FC Dallas vs Seattle Sounders: Prediction

FC Dallas 3-1 Seattle Sounders: The Sounders would usually be capable of getting a positive result in a game like this but given their mounting injury crisis, it’s hard to see them leaving with anything. Dallas know they are in a good position to pick up their first win of the campaign and should be able to do so.

2018 Key Transfers: FC Dallas

As the 2018 MLS season closes in, we will run through the key additions and losses for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we look at all FC Dallas’ key transfers and what it could mean for them in their 2018 MLS campaign…

Not only did FC Dallas fail to retain their Supporters’ Shield title last term, they failed to even make the playoffs for the first time in four years. Despite a strong start to the campaign, a 10-game winless run through the end of the summer saw them plummet down the Western Conference and they eventually finished seventh. They only narrowly missed out on the playoffs but the aim in 2018 will be to bounce back. Some key faces have left this winter, but replacements have been brought in and Oscar Pareja will be hoping to see the best of Dallas once more.

Key signings

Santiago Mosquera: FC Dallas have spent a reported $4 million on signing Colombian attacker Santiago Mosquera ahead of the 2018 season. The 23-year-old will occupy a Young Designated Player slot and should be an exciting addition to the Dallas team as they prepare to fight their way back into contention in the West. Mosquera scored nine goals in the Colombian league for Millonarios last term and should suit Oscar Pareja’s system well.

Jimmy Maurer: Having spent a week on loan with Dallas last season, Maurer joined on a permanent deal this offseason. He is most commonly known for his 105 appearances for the New York Cosmos in the NASL. Signing on a free transfer, we can only envisage him as a good backup option to Jesse Gonzalez.

Anton Nedyalkov:Nedyalkov is a Bulgarian international who joined from CSKA Sofia just before Christmas. At only 24, he brings a lot of promise as he was voted Sofia’s Fans Player of the Season in 2016/17. His signing comes not only as a positive for Dallas but for MLS, showing the attraction for young talent from Europe is increasingly stronger.

Reto Ziegler: Former Tottenham Hotspur left back, Ziegler has travelled around Europe over the past decade. Signing for Spurs as an 18 year old in 2004, Ziegler showed signs of elite talent but never lived up to the potential. Stints at the likes of Sampdoria, Juventus, Fenerbahce and most recently FC Sion have culminated in a move to Texas, where he will hope to play regular football.

Francis Atuahene: Fresh faced striker Atuahene joins courtesy of the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, coming in as the fourth overall pick. At 5’9 he is not the biggest, but for what he lacks in stature he makes up for in pace. Ghanaian born Atuahene moved to the states via the Right to Dream Academy and will be hoping to make an immediate impact in 2018 with the Western Conference outfit.

Notable Departures 

Chris Seitz: Experienced keeper Seitz has left for Houston as his contract has expired. An MLS player for over ten years now, Dallas have lost an old head and a very good keeper at that. But with the emergence of Jesse Gonzalez over the past few seasons, Seitz has seen playing time decrease rapidly and has rightly moved on.

Hernan Grana: The highly regarded Argentine right back saw his loan end and his option declined to make his stay permanent. He returns to his native Argentina, as he did when his short stay in Columbus came to end as a result of homesickness in 2015. Known for his aggressive attacking play, Grana was a key player for Dallas last term. He played 30 games, registering one goal and four assists.

Javier Morales: No surprises here. As an MLS Cup winner in 2009 with Real Salt Lake, Morales will go down as one of the MLS greats after 10 seasons in the league. Having only played a season in Dallas, Morales finished with 15 appearances and a solitary goal. He was brought in as creative cover for the injured Mauro Diaz a year ago but is no longer required in Texas.

Walker Zimmerman: Recently capped USMNT international Zimmerman would be a loss to any MLS squad and LAFC have picked up a very good young player with $500,000 in allocation money coming to Dallas. Since joining as a first-round draft pick in 2013, he made 89 appearances over five seasons, scoring seven goals and one assist.

MLS Preview and Prediction: FC Dallas vs New York Red Bulls

Major League Soccer: FC Dallas vs New York Red Bulls

Toyota Stadium – Saturday, September 2nd – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST)

Match Odds: FC Dallas 21/20 – Draw 5/2 – NY Red Bulls 9/4

FC Dallas vs New York Red Bulls: Preview

FC Dallas host the New York Red Bulls in a key battle between two underperforming sides on Saturday night. Over the past two seasons, Dallas and the Red Bulls have won their respective conferences. But this year, they’re facing a battle just to make the top six.

Dallas have finished the past two seasons with 60 points. They need to win eight of their last nine games to match that total again this year. They were expected to lead the West again this season but it’s not gone to plan.

FC Dallas are winless in six and have slid down the West into seventh place ahead of the weekend. They do have games in hand on sides above them but they must put an end to their slump quickly if they are to make the playoffs.

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International call-ups have decimated Oscar Pareja’s squad ahead of Saturday’s game, doing little to improve their chances of picking up a first win in seven.

The Red Bulls arrive in a stronger position than the hosts. But only slightly. They come into the weekend with 39 points and sit fifth in the East. They have games in hand over all four sides in front of them but are unlikely to get anywhere near league leaders Toronto.

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Jesse Marsch’s side have had an inconsistent season. They posted a 7-8-2 record through the first half of the season. They have won five of their last eight but come into Saturday’s game off the back of two winless outings. A 2-0 loss in Portland was followed by a 1-1 draw to New York City FC last weekend.

This will be the only regular season meeting between the two this season. It’s unclear whether they’ll even have the chance to face off in the playoffs at this stage. But both know they need to go for all three points here.

FC Dallas vs New York Red Bulls: Team News

FC Dallas have a host of regular starters away on international duty. Kellyn Acosta and Matt Hedges are with the USA. Tesho Akindele is with Canada, Maynor Figueroa is with Honduras and Carlos Gruezo is with Ecuador. Playmaker Mauro Diaz is listed as ‘questionable’ as he recovers from a hamstring injury.

New York Red Bulls remain without Mike Grella, Gideon Baah and Daniel Royer. Aurelien Collin is a doubt as he continue to deal with a heel injury. International call-ups won’t hurt the Red Bulls as much as Dallas. But Kemar Lawrence is away with Jamaica, while Michael Murillo and Fidel Escobar are with Panama. Bradley Wright-Phillips, Sacha Kljestan, Sean Davis and Felipe are all one booking away from suspension and need to watch their step.

FC Dallas vs New York Red Bulls: Key Points

FC Dallas’ last five: L/D/L/D/L

New York Red Bulls’ last five: W/L/W/L/D

Key Stat: FC Dallas haven’t beaten the Red Bulls in five years, losing three of their last four without finding the net in any of those games. Their last win over the Red Bulls came on the opening day of the 2012 season, as they won 2-1 at Toyota Stadium.

Key Player: Bradley Wright-Phillips – It’s difficult to highlight anyone other than BWP as the key man here. He has 14 goals in 24 games this season and won’t have given up on catching top scorer David Villa yet. He will look to close that five-goal gap at Toyota Stadium on Saturday.

FC Dallas vs New York Red Bulls: Prediction

FC Dallas 0-2 New York Red Bulls – FC Dallas are in trouble. They haven’t won in six and are missing key players as a result of international call-ups. The Red Bulls are in better shape but still have work to do to cement a playoff spot. They haven’t lost to Dallas since 2012 and will be looking for their fifth-straight clean sheet against the Texans here.

MLS Preview and Prediction: FC Dallas vs Houston Dynamo

Major League Soccer: FC Dallas vs Houston Dynamo

Toyota Stadium – Wednesday, August 23 – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)

Match Odds: Dallas 4/6 – Draw 11/4 – Houston 15/4

FC Dallas vs Houston Dynamo: Preview

FC Dallas welcome Houston Dynamo to Toyota Stadium as MLS Rivalry Week starts with the Texas Derby on Wednesday night. This will be the third Texas Derby of the season but both previous clashes have ended in a draw, so El Capitán is up for grabs here.

As things stand this season’s rivalry series between the two clubs means that Houston are in a position to retain El Capitán. But a win for either side on Wednesday would decide who ends the season with bragging rights.

Dallas are in a bad run of form. It’s the worst stage of the campaign for the wheels to be coming off, but they haven’t won in four, losing three of those. Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Sporting KC leaves them five points off the top.

They are only holding on to a top six spot by two points and know they need to beat Houston to get back on track. Victory on Wednesday would move Dallas back ahead of the Dynamo as we enter the final two months of the season.

Houston have quietly been putting together a good run of form. They’ve not been setting the world alight, but were unbeaten in six before Saturday’s 2-1 loss in Vancouver.

The Dynamo are just three points off league leaders Sporting KC and Seattle coming into Wednesday’s set of fixtures. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2013 but look well on course to do so this term.

 

The worry for the visitors is that they’ve struggled on the road at Dallas for the past six years. They haven’t won at Toyota Stadium since 2011.

The two sides have already drawn their two meetings this season. First playing out a 0-0 at Toyota Stadium back in May before a 1-1 draw at BBVA Compass Stadium a month later.

FC Dallas vs Houston Dynamo: Team News

FC Dallas have no injury worries ahead of Wednesday’s derby. Head coach Oscar Pareja is likely to make at least one change after watching his team lose at SKC on Saturday. Dallas also have a trip to Columbus to think about on Saturday.

Houston Dynamo remain without George Malki for the season. Other than that, they have no injury concerns. Alberth Elis will return to the side after serving a suspension at Vancouver on Saturday. Juan David Cabezas and AJ DeLaGarza are suspended as a result of yellow card accumulation. Houston play SKC at home on Saturday, so Wilmer Cabrera may have to rotate his side.

FC Dallas vs Houston Dynamo: Key Points

FC Dallas’ last five: W/L/L/D/L

Houston Dynamo’s last five: W/D/D/W/L

Key Stat: Houston haven’t won away at their Texan Derby rivals in six years. FC Dallas have won four of the last six clashes at Toyota Stadium, outscoring the Dynamo 13-4 in that time.

Key Player: Maximiliano Urruti – The FC Dallas striker scored in the 1-1 draw at BBVA Compass Stadium back in June. He hasn’t scored in five but is still Dallas’ leading scorer with 11 this season. The hosts will look to Urruti for inspiration as they look to end their poor run of form.

FC Dallas vs Houston Dynamo: Prediction

FC Dallas 1-1 Houston Dynamo – It’s difficult to see where a winner is going to come from on Wednesday night. There is more pressure on Dallas than Houston here. But that should mean the Dynamo set up to stifle the home side, just as they did in the season’s first meeting back in May, which ended 0-0. FC Dallas have to win the game to take home this season’s El Capitán. But recent forms suggests they won’t have enough to do so.

MLS Preview and Prediction: FC Dallas vs Toronto FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – FC Dallas vs. Toronto FC
Venue: Toyota Stadium – Saturday, July 1 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)
Match Odds: FC Dallas 19/20 – Draw 12/5 – Toronto FC 13/5

Match Preview

Table-topping Toronto FC travel to Texas this weekend to take on FC Dallas in a battle between two Major League Soccer heavyweights.

The meeting between the two sides last season saw Toronto come out on top in a 1-0 win at BMO field but they know they’ve got their work cut out if their to claim a first ever MLS win at Toyota Stadium.

FC Dallas will be searching for a desperate victory after a recent run of form that is below expectations. With just one win from their last eight league outings, they have been well off the pace and must start improving here if they are to be in contention for the Supporters’ Shield come the end of the regular season.

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The current run has seen Sporting Kansas City leapfrog Dallas to top of the Western Conference, and given Houston Dynamo and Portland Timbers a way back into the battle for the West title. A change in form is needed and playing the league’s top side is not ideal when three points are of urgent need for Oscar Pareja’s men.

The other issue is that Dallas are without three key men for Saturday’s game. Walker Zimmerman is injured, while fellow defender Matt Hedges is away with the US Men’s National Team, alongside midfielder Kellyn Acosta so squad depth will be seriously tested here.


Toronto are, as mentioned, the top side at the moment. Boasting a strike force of Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore should of course demand such results, but a lot has to be said of their defence. Conceding only 15 goals in 17 games in such an attacking league has to be commended.

If it wasn’t for the amazing form of Chicago Fire, we feel Toronto would gain even more credit for the performances they are showing. A battle for the Eastern Conference is heating up between the two sides and is expected to remain close through the second half of the season.

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The Reds will come into this game in high spirits after win a second successive Canadian Championship title on Wednesday night, thanks to a dramatically late Giovinco goal. That result will have kept confidence high but Greg Vanney knows there is a risk they will be fatigued.

This is a huge clash between two sides going for Conference titles, so drama drama, and hopefully and few goals are to be expected at Toyota Stadium on Saturday evening.

Team News

FC Dallas have only one man missing through injury as Walker Zimmerman is still out with a knee problem. However, they are going to be without Matt Hedges and Kellyn Acosta, as both are away with the USMNT in preparation for the Gold Cup.

Toronto FC are also missing a defender with a knee injury as Nick Hagglund is still suffering and won’t be involved here. Justin Morrow will be the team’s only absentee as a result of Gold Cup participation this weekend.

Key Points

FC Dallas’ last five: D/W/L/D/D

Toronto FC’s last five: D/W/L/W/W

Key Stat: FC Dallas have only lose two of their last 26 home matches in the league.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – Italian genius Giovinco has had a quiet year by his standards so far. But he has been improving in recent weeks and was instrumental as ever in Wednesday’s Canadian Championship win. We expect him to improve dramatically as Toronto hunt down that elusive first MLS Cup crown.

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Score Prediction

FC Dallas 1-2 Toronto FC – Toronto look far too strong this term for a Dallas side which has been unusually average by their standards in recent weeks and is missing some key men for this clash.. This is likely to be a tense affair but if either side is going to edge it, it looks more likely to be Toronto.

Gallery: Exclusive photos from Vancouver’s 1-1 draw with FC Dallas on Saturday

Vancouver Whitecaps battled back to earn a 1-1 draw at home to FC Dallas on Saturday, thanks to Cristian Techera’s free-kick 15 minutes from time, cancelling out Maximiliano Urruti’s opener earlier in the second-half.

The Whitecaps have now gone back-to-back games without defeat for only the second time this season and will hope to keep building momentum when they travel to Minnesota this weekend.

Carl Robinson’s men are in fifth place in the West after the weekend’s result, four behind Dallas in fourth, who have also played one game more than the Canadian outfit.

Dallas have been wobbling over the past couple of months and have only won one of their last seven games, with that coming two weeks ago at home to RSL.

They have a Friday-night clash with Texas rivals Houston up next and will be hoping to stamp their authority down to stay in touch with the leaders at the top of the West.

Check out exclusive photos from Saturday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographers John May, Hazel May and Chris Kachanoski.

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Three reasons FC Dallas can win a first MLS Cup title this season

FC Dallas picked up a fifth win of the season with their comprehensive 3-0 victory at Real Salt Lake on Saturday night. They are still the only unbeaten side in MLS this term and are on track to retain their Supporters’ Shield title come the end of the season. But the club know they need to lift the MLS Cup trophy, given how well they’ve developed over the past three years.

Despite playing in all 22 MLS seasons to date (including the current campaign), FC Dallas have only been to one MLS Cup Final, in which they lost 2-1 to Colorado in extra-time in 2010. Since then, they’ve only won two of their six playoff games and were eliminated by eventual champions Seattle last year in their Western Conference semifinal clash.

Many felt Dallas were the team to beat heading into the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs. They had just lifted a first-ever Supporters’ Shield and topped the West with 60 points for the second-successive year. On top of that, Dallas also lifted last season’s US Open Cup, becoming the first MLS team to win a double since 2014. Their priority this year is to get their hands on that elusive MLS Cup and here are three reasons why they look set to do it.

Consistency

Oscar Pareja’s men have picked up 18 points from their first eight games of the 2017 season. That’s one more than they had after eight games in 2016 and four more than they had in 2015. They have finished with 60 points in each of the last two seasons – an amount that has been enough to win the Supporters’ Shield for the past two seasons, and only missed out on the 2015 title as a result of an inferior goalscoring record to the Red Bulls.

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Major League Soccer is impossible to predict week-to-week and yet Dallas remain competitive, no matter the circumstances. They have the ninth-smallest wage bill in the league with the youngest team in the league and seem to have depth all over the field. They have only lost one of their last 16 regular season games in total and haven’t suffered back-to-back defeats for 12 months.

Fitness

One of the key reasons Dallas remain so consistent is the fact they can run until the very last kick of the game. They don’t score many early goals – they are the only team yet to score in the first 30 minutes of a game this year – but they have scored 90% of their goals this season in the second half and their relentless pressure often pays off. The young legs throughout the side help, but Pareja and his coaching staff deserve great credit for ensuring fitness levels are always impressively high.

Home record

We all know a strong home record provides a platform for success in football. It’s the case all over the world but it’s imperative in MLS, given the long-distance travel teams have to endure for road games over the course of a campaign. For Dallas, Toyota Stadium is a fortress. They have only lost one of their last 29 MLS games at home and have won 74% of their home matches over the past two seasons.

Dallas are good wherever they play but whenever they take to the field in front of their own supporters, they seem to play with even more confidence and never look like losing. If they can keep that going over the remainder of this term, they should put themselves in a position to win a second-successive Supporters’ Shield, as well as a first MLS Cup title in December.

MLS Preview and Prediction: FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers

Competition: Major League Soccer – FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers
Venue: Toyota Stadium – Saturday, April 29 – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)
Match Odds: Dallas 7/10 – Draw 13/5 – Portland 15/4

Match Preview

FC Dallas host the high-flying Portland Timbers on Saturday night in a hotly anticipated battle between the Western Conference’s top two sides.

Dallas are two points behind Portland at the top of the standings coming into Week 9 but have played two games less than Saturday’s opponents.

Oscar Pareja will be pleased with his team’s unbeaten start to the 2017 season. They boast an 4-0-2 record after six games and look in a strong position to retain the Supporters’ Shield this season.

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Their 1-0 win over Sporting KC last week kept up their 100% home record this season and they will be looking to leapfrog Portland with another win in front of their own fans here.

The Timbers have been solid through their opening eight games but still look vulnerable at the back, with injuries doing little to help Caleb Porter pick a consistent backline.

Portland beat Cascadia Rivals Vancouver 2-1 last weekend but that was just their second win in five – a demonstration of how inconsistency could see them falter this term.

Fanendo Adi will return from suspension this weekend but Diego Valeri is ruled out and that will leave Timbers supporters seriously concerned as he has been their standout player by some distance this campaign.

These sides met three times last season, with Dallas completing a league treble over the Timbers. Portland’s last regular season win in Dallas came in 2014 but they’ve only won two of their 11 trips to Toyota Stadium.

Team News

Dallas remain without Mauro Diaz but the good news for FCD fans is that the playmaker has returned to training and won’t be far away from a return. Chris Seitz is expected to miss out again with a hamstring injury.

Portland will be without Diego Valeri after he was stretchered off in last weekend’s clash with Vancouver. Jake Gleeson is also ruled out along with Ben Zemanski and Gbenga Arokoyo.

Key Points

FC Dallas’ form: D/W/D/W/W

Portland Timbers’ form: L/D/W/L/W

Key Stat: Fortress – FC Dallas have won their last six home games in MLS and will be looking to keep their 100% home record going this season.

Key Player: Kellyn Acosta – The Dallas midfielder has been excellent so far this season, scoring as many goals in five games (2) as he did in 34 last term. He will look to break up play in midfield and prevent Portland from driving forward.

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Score Prediction

FC Dallas 2-0 Portland Timbers – It’s tough to see Portland winning at Dallas without Diego Valeri. His loss could prove pivotal as Dallas look to go top of the West on Saturday night. The home side look a real force at home and have only conceded one goal in three games in Frisco so far and they should keep their strong form going here.