MLS Preview and Prediction: Colorado Rapids vs FC Dallas

Competition: Major League Soccer – Colorado Rapids vs. FC Dallas

Venue: Dicks Sporting Goods Park – Saturday, July 24 – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST)

Match Odds: Colorado 13/10 – Draw 9/4 – FC Dallas 21/10

Match Preview

Colorado Rapids host FC Dallas on Saturday night in a huge clash that will see the top two teams in the Western Conference go head-to-head at Dicks Sporting Goods Park.

Colorado, who are currently sitting in second, will claim top spot with a win over the current league leaders. But avoiding defeat will be the priority for the Rapids as anything but a loss will leave them in a great position going forward.

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Colorado are unbeaten in their last 14 matches in MLS – a run which no one would have predicted at the start of the campaign. The dramatic turnaround at the Rapids has been refreshing to see and they are in a great position to push on for the rest of the season. Another strong performance here would only solidify their title claims.

FC Dallas still hold top spot and will need a win on Saturday to suppress the Rapids’ ongoing challenge for the Western Conference title.

Dallas have won four of their last five in MLS so they come into this one in good form. They will be wanting three points from this one to be sure of their stance, but know that an away trip to Dicks Sporting Goods Park will be no easy contest.

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These sides have already met in the US Open Cup this season, with Dallas sealing a 2-1 home win a month ago. This will be the first of two regular season battles between the pair.

The last two MLS meetings between these sides have ended 1-1, with both clashes taking place in Colorado. Another close battle is expected here.

Team News

Colorado Rapids will be without Dillon Serna who is out injured. Jermaine Jones is a doubt with an undisclosed injury.

Zach Loyd is out with a concussion and will not feature for Dallas. Ryan Hollingshead is also suffering with concussion symptoms but is expected to be available come kickoff.

Key Points

Colorado Rapids’ last five: W/D/D/D/W

FC Dallas’ last five: W/W/W/L/W

Key Stat: Colorado Rapids are unbeaten in their last 14 matches in MLS.

Key Player: Fabian Castillo – The Colombian winger is essential to this FC Dallas team and has firmly established himself as one the most dangerous attacking players in the league. Expect him to make a difference on Saturday night in a close game.

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Score Prediction

Colorado Rapids 1-1 FC Dallas – Colorado’s unbelievable turnaround has made them the hardest side to beat in MLS this year. Having said that, Dallas have four wins in their last five and will be wanting to hold onto top spot for as long as possible. We’re expecting a tight game, which will probably end in another 1-1 draw between the pair.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers

Competition: Major League Soccer – FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers 

Venue: Toyota Stadium – Wednesday, May 11 – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST)

Match Odds: FC Dallas 10/11 – Draw  13/5 – Portland Timbers 3/1

Match Preview

FC Dallas play host to MLS Cup holders Portland Timbers in the first of both sides’ two fixtures this week, with as many as eight teams having a double gameweek to deal with.

Dallas come into the game in a barren run of form, having lost three matches on the bounce. The loss of their captain Matt Hedges has been highlighted as one of the many issues currently affecting the Texan side but results need to start improving quickly, regardless.

Oscar Pareja’s side will want to avoid dropping any more points as they are still a side capable of winning the Supporters’ Shield. However, they are now three points adrift of Colorado, who have played a game less in the West. Another defeat on Wednesday could see that difference increase and Dallas will be desperate to bounce back in front of their own fans.

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Portland Timbers defied all odds to win the MLS Cup last term but their form this season is the polar opposite to their stellar postseason display of 2015.

It is without question that the Western Conference is far more competitive than the East but you would still expect Portland to challenge for a playoff place, despite sitting in ninth as it stands.

To highlight the differing levels of competitiveness, Portland’s 12 points would see them sit in fifth place if they played in the East.

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That being said, Portland have had injuries to key players throughout the season so far as Liam Ridgewell and Darlington Nagbe have both spent time on the sidelines. Portland have the tools to go far this season and potentially win MLS Cup again, so long as they can keep their key players consistently on the field.

This will be the second meeting between these two clubs this season. Dallas ran out 3-1 winners in Portland a month ago and are looking for a third-straight regular season win against their Western rivals.

Team News

FC Dallas are missing midfielder Alex Zendejas and Matt Hedges through injury. Zach Lloyd and Walker Zimmerman are expected to start in defence. Goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez left Saturday’s game in Toronto with an injury after all three subs had been used, with Ryan Hollingshead finishing the match in goal. Chris Seitz will expect to start if Gonzalez remains out. Fabian Castillo will return to the starting lineup after coming off the bench on Saturday.

Portland Timbers are without defenders Andy Thoma and Alvas Powell through injury. Goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey has torn a ligament in a finger so Jake Gleeson will take the gloves once again. Jack McInerney will be competing with Darren Mattocks for a start in attack.

Key Points

FC Dallas’ last five: W/W/L/L/L

Portland Timbers’ last five: L/W/D/W/L

Key Stat: FC Dallas are undefeated in their last 12 home matches in MLS.

Key Player: Fabian Castillo – The winger has been quiet as of recently and with Dallas looking to end a run of three-straight losses, Castillo will need to be influential from the outset. He has the ability to change a game in a flash and Dallas need him to step up as they look to bounce back.

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Score Prediction

FC Dallas 1-1 Portland Timbers – FC Dallas are unbeaten at home this season and Portland are inconsistent, so logic would suggest Dallas will win. However, with three losses on the bounce, we expect this to be a tough test for Dallas and the points could well be shared come the end of Wednesday’s contest.

MLS Preview and Prediction: FC Dallas vs Philadelphia Union

Competition: Major League Soccer – FC Dallas vs. Philadelphia Union

Venue: Toyota Stadium – Sunday, March 6 – 15:00 ET (20:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Dallas 8/13 – Draw 14/5 – Philadelphia 9/2

Match Preview

FC Dallas welcome Philadelphia Union to Toyota Stadium on Sunday as both sides look to get their 2016 MLS season off to a winning start.

This is a clash which matches up two teams that had completely contrasting season’s in 2015 as Dallas topped the Western Conference, and only New York Red Bulls got as many points as them across the whole of MLS (60).

Meanwhile, Philadelphia Union struggled in the Eastern Conference, finishing ninth with just 37 points as only Chicago Fire ended with a lower final tally.

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But 2016 provides a chance to wipe the slate clean and Dallas will be desperate to get off to a positive start as they begin the long marathon that is the hunt for the Supporters’ Shield title and road to the MLS Playoffs.

Oscar Pareja’s side enjoyed a successful preseason, winning all three of the games they played, including a 2-1 success over New England Revolution.

Dallas have welcomed talented Argentinian forward Maxi Urruti from the Portland Timbers in an attempt to bolster an already strong squad – he bagged two goals in preseason and will be hoping to continue his good start to life in Texas.

Philadelphia Union have been hard at work in preseason with six games in total, winning two, drawing two and losing two, although their most recent fixture was a 1-0 success over Toronto.

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Jim Curtin’s squad has a very different look about it compared to last year with a whole host of changes, so his main job will be trying to get this team to click as quickly as possible.

Perhaps the most promising addition is midfielder Chris Pontius who joins from DC United – the Union will be hoping he brings a stability to the team that will help them challenge for a playoff finish this year.

The only meeting between these two sides in 2015 saw Dallas come away with a 2-0 win from Philadelphia’s PPL Park thanks to goals from Tesho Akindele and Ryan Hollingshead.

Team News

FC Dallas have no injury concerns heading into their season opener, meaning Oscar Pareja has a full squad to choose from and will be expecting his side to be at their best right from the off. Rookie Timo Pitter will be pushing for a place in the squad after being the top goalscorer in preseason with three goals from midfield.

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Maurice Edu (hernia) and Tranquillo Barnetta (knee) are both injury doubts for Philadelphia Union. There is likely to be a number of players making their debuts for the Union, including Chris Pontius and Roland Alberg.

Key Points

FC Dallas’ preseason form: W/W/W

Philadelphia Union’s preseason form: L/L/D/W/D/W

Key Stat: Philadelphia Union have never won a game against FC Dallas in MLS (P8, D4, L4).

Key Player: Fabian Castillo – The young Colombian was a once again a key player for Dallas in 2015 with nine goals and nine assists from 30 appearances and if he can hit the ground running, the Union may struggle to keep him at bay.

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Score Prediction

FC Dallas 2-1 Philadelphia Union – FC Dallas had the best home record in MLS in 2015, winning 13 of their 17 home games, amassing 41 points from a possible 51, as well as losing just twice. It’s a tough ask for the Union to get a result on the opening day, but they’ll certainly put up a tough fight to prove otherwise.

2016 MLS Season Preview: FC Dallas

As the 2016 MLS season edges closer, we’ll be publishing each team’s MLS 2016 Season Preview. Today we take a look at what FC Dallas will be hoping to achieve this season.

FC Dallas enter 2016 in good shape and will be desperate to go one better than they managed last term, losing one game before the 2015 MLS Cup Final. Oscar Pareja has a talented squad at his disposal and knows that his side have a great chance of winning the Western Conference for a second-straight season. Dallas picked up 60 points over the course of the regular season last time out – their highest-ever points total in MLS – and beating that impressive tally would surely guarantee another year full of excitement and promise.

Last season’s finish:

Western Conference – Position: 1st – P34 – W18 – D6 – L10

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What needs to change this year?

Very little. The real challenge for Dallas will be trying to keep things the same, rather than make changes to the team style and approach. They won the joint-most games in MLS in 2015 (18) and had the best home record in the league, amassing 41 points from a possible 51. Keeping Toyota Stadium a fortress will be important. Blas Perez and David Texeira have both left the club and so Dallas will hope they can continue scoring goals as freely without those two.

Key changes to squad:

Ins: Maximiliano Urruti – Forward, Carlos Gruezo – Midfielder, Maynor Figueroa – Defender, Carlos Lizarazo – Forward & Mauro Rosales – Midfielder.

Outs: Bakary Soumare – Defender, David Texeira – Forward, Michel – Midfielder, Stephen Keel – Defender, Dan Kennedy – Goalkeeper, Rolando Escobar – Midfielder, Blas Perez – Forward & Je-Vaughn Watson – Defender.

Key Player:

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Fabian Castillo – Forward – Fabian Castillo has continued to improve as a winger with every season he has played in MLS. He scored ten goals and picked up nine assists in 34 regular season appearances last term – proving how important he is to the side. His pace and tricky dribbling make him impossible to contain and when he’s on song, Dallas normally walk away with three points. The Colombian completed more dribbles than any other player in MLS last term and will expect to do the same again in 2016.

One to Watch:

Carlos Gruezo – Midfielder – Gruezo joins FC Dallas as a Designated Player from Bundesliga side Stuttgart and big things are expected of the 20 year old this season and beyond. He can play in various positions and is experienced for a player of his age, having already played in a World Cup. Oscar Pareja is excited about the acquisition of the Ecuadorian and believes he will make the entire squad better.

Predicted Finish:

Western Conference – 2nd – Dallas should remain right at the very top of the Western Conference in 2016 and will be expecting to have another good playoff run too, with a young and energetic roster at Pareja’s disposal. The worry will be that they will have to get used to life without Blas Perez and David Texeira, who made 37 regular season starts between them in 2015, but that shouldn’t take too long and so FC Dallas look set for another highly promising campaign.

What are you expecting from FC Dallas in 2016?

GALLERY: Exclusive photos from Seattle’s first leg playoff win over FC Dallas

Seattle Sounders managed to rally from a goal down to win the first leg of their MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Semifinal with FC Dallas last night.

Fine goals from Andreas Ivanschitz and Clint Dempsey turned the tie on its head after Fabian Castillo gave Dallas an early lead with an important away goal.

The second leg will be played at Toyota Stadium next Sunday night with the winner advancing to the Western Conference final against either Portland or Vancouver.

Check out exclusive photos from the game at CenturyLink Field below, courtesy of Denise McCooey.

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Dempsey magic inspires Seattle to first leg comeback win over Dallas

The Seattle Sounders met FC Dallas in the final MLS Cup Playoffs Conference Semifinal of Sunday’s four-game card at CenturyLink Field, with the Western Conference rivals putting on a show.

Seattle eventually sealed the all-important first-leg win 2-1 thanks to a stunning late Clint Dempsey free-kick to give the Sounders the advantage in the tie heading into next week’s second leg in Dallas.

But things didn’t start so well for the home side as Fabian Castillo fired FC Dallas in front after just 18 minutes. He latched on to a fine Mauro Diaz pass to finish, moments after Dempsey wanted a penalty at the other end.

Seattle pressed for an equaliser but couldn’t seem to beat Jesse Gonzalez in the Dallas goal. But Andreas Ivanschitz had other ideas as he fired life back into the Sounders on 67 minutes.

The Austrian midfielder beat three Dallas players before firing a sublime left-footed shot into the bottom right corner, sending the roof off of CenturyLink Field.

The atmosphere then ramped up and Seattle managed to complete their comeback when Dempsey fired a stunning free-kick into the top corner just four minutes from time.

Dallas will feel hard done by but they have what could prove to be a vital away goal and will now need to win the game at Toyota Stadium next Sunday night.

The two sides will meet in the second leg at 19:30 ET (00:30 GMT) next Sunday evening with a place in the conference final against either Portland or Vancouver up for grabs.

What did you make of the game in Seattle? Did the Sounders deserve the win?

MLS Preview and Prediction: FC Dallas vs San Jose Earthquakes

Competition: Major League Soccer – FC Dallas vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Venue: Toyota Stadium – Sunday, October 25 – 19:00 ET (23:00 GMT – Live on Sky Sports 2 – Red Button)

Match Odds: Dallas 4/5 – Draw 14/5 – San Jose 3/1

Match Preview

FC Dallas host the San Jose Earthquakes in one of the biggest games on MLS Decision Day this Sunday with both left with enormous amounts to play for in the Western Conference.

The final regular season game for both will ultimately decide the success or failure of their seasons to a degree. Dallas are chasing a first-ever Supporters’ Shield, while San Jose are looking to make the playoffs for the first time in three years.

Dallas have already sealed top spot in the West, with last weekend’s 1-0 win at Real Salt Lake ensuring they can enjoy a bye week through the knockout rounds of the upcoming playoffs.

FC Dallas’ MLS record: P33 – W17 – D6 – L10

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They have never won the Supporters’ Shield but are tied with the New York Red Bulls at the top of the league standings going into MLS Decision Day, though New York have a superior goal difference of six. If the Red Bulls fail to win in their earlier game with Chicago Fire, then the door will be wide open for Dallas to claim the shield.

San Jose come into the final weekend of the regular season one point below the playoff line in the West. They have found form late on and are unbeaten in three now. A point in Dallas could be enough for a top six finish but a win will obviously boost their chances.

San Jose Earthquakes’ 2015 record: P33 – W13 – D8 – L12

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

The Quakes will be hoping Sporting Kansas City and/or Seattle Sounders slip up on the final day to give themselves a good chance of making the postseason, though a loss in Texas would end their dreams for another year.

This is a repeat fixture of both clubs’ opening games of the 2015 MLS season. Dallas won that game 1-0 thanks to a very late Blas Perez goal. The most recent meeting at Avaya Stadium ended 0-0 in June. San Jose have not won in their last three meetings with Dallas.

Team News

FC Dallas will be without Rolando Escobar for this one, while Bakary Soumare and Kellyn Acosta are both doubts.

San Jose Earthquakes travel to Dallas without Innocent Emeghara, Steven Lenhart, Jordan Stewart, Paulo Renato and Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi. Anibal Godoy will also miss out as he serves a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation.

Key Points

FC Dallas’ last five: L/W/D/W/W

San Jose Earthquake’s last five: D/L/W/D/W

Key Stat: San Jose haven’t scored against FC Dallas in their last three meetings. It’s now been 316 minutes since the Quakes last netted against FCD.

Key Player: Fabian Castillo – The Dallas winger leads the team in goals with nine. He’s a constant threat and one of the most productive players in MLS on his day. He will look to shine on a big day for Dallas.

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

Score Prediction

FC Dallas 2-1 San Jose Earthquakes – This is an enormous game for both clubs and a really tough one to call. Both have key playmakers that can turn matches in one play but home advantage and the chance of winning a first Supporters’ Shield mean we’re just edging with FC Dallas. San Jose will put up a real fight but they haven’t beaten Dallas in their last three and may come up short at the final hurdle.

MLS Preview and Prediction: FC Dallas vs Houston Dynamo

Competition: Major League Soccer Regular Season – FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo

Venue: Toyota Stadium – Sunday, October 4 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST)

Match Odds: FC Dallas 3/4 – Draw 15/4 – Houston Dynamo 100/30

Match Preview

FC Dallas look to push for the Western Conference and continue their hunt for the Supporters’ Shield on Saturday night as Houston Dynamo visit Toyota Stadium for the third Texas Derby of the year.

With two losses in a row, Dallas have lost control of top spot in the Western and need to get back to winning ways quickly to stay within contention with just three weeks to go.

However, their recent form suggests they are prone to a slip up, having lost five of their last eight in MLS and winning the Supporters’ Shield may now be a bridge too far.

FC Dallas’ record in MLS: P29 – W14 – D5 – L10

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

Houston have lost both previous meetings in this season’s rivalry, with a 2-0 loss and a 4-1 drubbing leaving them without a chance of claiming El Capitan in 2015. The Dynamo have remarkably lost 2-0 away from home five times this season, so scoring on the road is no easy task for Owen Coyle’s men.

And with just three wins in their last eight they have remained short of the form necessary for a playoff berth.

Houston Dynamo’s record in MLS: P31 – W11 – D8 – L12 

They are, surprisingly, only three points off Portland in the race for sixth in Western Conference and so a playoff spot is still theirs to play for as we approach the end of the regular season.

Team News

FC Dallas have two first teamer’s doubtful as Dan Kennedy and Bakary Soumare missed the loss to LA Galaxy and may miss the visit of Houston.

Houston Dynamo will be without Jermaine Taylor who has a right quadricep tear and will miss the trip. Kofi Sarkodie has a bruise on his right knee but should be fit to feature.

Key Points

FC Dallas’ last five: W/W/W/L/L

Houston Dynamo’s last five: W/L/L/W/W

Key Stat: FC Dallas have won six of their last seven at home in MLS.

Key Player: Fabian Castillo – The sensational winger has proven once again this season what an asset he is to Dallas and MLS. The Columbian has become the main man for Dallas and as such we believe he will inspire another home win.

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Score Prediction

FC Dallas 2-0 Houston Dynamo – After an impressive stint at home and with the playoffs edging closer, we expect Dallas to ease to victory, probably earning a clean sheet in the process to seal this year’s Texas Derby series with a 100% record.

MLS Preview and Prediction: FC Dallas vs New York City FC

Competition: Major League Soccer Regular Season – FC Dallas vs. New York City FC

Venue: Toyota Stadium – Saturday, September 12 – 20:30 ET (01:30 BST)

Match Odds: FC Dallas 7/10 – Draw 3/1 – New York City FC 7/2

Match Preview

FC Dallas host expansion franchise New York City FC on Saturday night as they look to cut the four point difference at the top of the Western Conference.

Dallas have the potential to top the Supporters’ Shield standings if they win both their games in hand on Vancouver Whitecaps.

They look to have bounced back from a recent dip in form after back-to-back wins they mean business and will feel confident heading into this one.

FC Dallas’ record in MLS: P26 W13 D5 L8

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New York City FC are at the opposite end of the MLS standings, with just one win in their last six, reflecting a difficult month for City.

NYCFC have failed to register an away win since the fifth of july, when they defeated Montreal Impact 2-1. And as such have slipped down the Eastern Conference.

New acquisition Frank Lampard has struggled to make much of an impact for his side and NYCFC look short of the playoffs this term, despite still being in with a shot.

New York City FC’s record in MLS: P27 W7 D7 L13

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Team News

FC Dallas may be without duo Mauro Diaz and Dan Kennedy who are both suffering with minor injuries. Bakary Soumare is also a doubt with a concussion.

New York City FC are missing George John, Tony Taylor and Connor Brandt. Javier Calle, Khiry Shelton and Mehdi Ballouchy are all doubts.

Key Points

FC Dallas’ last five in MLS: L/L/L/W/W

New York City FC’s last five in MLS: L/W/D/L/L

Key Stat: FC Dallas have won five of their last six at home in MLS.

Key Player: Fabian Castillo – The Columbian winger is proving one of the most exciting talents in MLS and his pace and dribbling have drawn in many suitors from Europe, stopping him will be a priority for NYC on Saturday night.

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Score Prediction

FC Dallas 3-1 New York City FC – Dallas will be favourites for this one as they are extremely consistent at home. New York may cause problems for the MLS title contenders but we expect Dallas to ease to three points.

MLS Preview and Prediction: FC Dallas vs LA Galaxy

Competition: Major League Soccer – FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy

Venue: Toyota Stadium – Saturday, August 15 – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST)

Match Odds: FC Dallas 6/5 – Draw 12/5 – LA Galaxy 2/1

Match Preview

FC Dallas host LA Galaxy in a key Western Conference clash at the top end of the standings on Saturday night, with plenty at stake as the regular season enters its final stretch.

Both side will be looking for three huge points to keep ambitions of a top placed finish in the West alive, while both are also still in the fight for the MLS Supporters’ Shield after 23 weeks.

FC Dallas had their five-game win streak ended against their rivals, Chicago Fire last time out and will now look to bounce back with a home victory against the Galaxy.

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Oscar Pareja’s team have only lost once at home all year and that came back in April. A run of four straight home wins makes them favourites for this one and they will hope they can capitalise on LA’s away troubles.

The Galaxy have won just once on the road this season. But that did come in their last away game at the Colorado Rapids two weeks ago and Bruce Arena will hope they can double up in what is a huge fixture.

LA Galaxy are two points above Dallas in second place in the West, but the home side have three games in hand over their rivals.

Giovani Dos Santos scored a goal and picked up an assist in his MLS debut last time out, helping the Galaxy to a 3-1 win against Seattle Sounders and he has already formed quite a partnership with Robbie Keane.

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Keane has eight goals in his last five games and looks a real threat right now. The Galaxy have stepped up their form at the perfect time with the playoffs fast approaching.

The previous meeting this season ended 2-1 to FC Dallas after they came from behind to seal all three points.

Team News

FC Dallas have no injury concerns ahead of this one as Pareja has a full strength squad to choose from.

LA Galaxy have four concerns. Brian Perk is out for the season, while Jose Villarreal, Baggio Husidic and Todd Dunivant are all doubts. Giovani Dos Santos, Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard will all start together once again.

Key Points

FC Dallas’ last five: W/W/W/W/L

LA Galaxy’s last five: W/W/L/W/W

Key Stat: FC Dallas have won six of their last seven home games in MLS.

Key Player: Fabian Castillo – The rapid Dallas winger is always a threat and tends to save his best performances for home games. Expect him to cause the Galaxy all kinds of problems.

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Score Prediction

FC Dallas 2-1 LA Galaxy – The Galaxy may have strengthened further with the addition of Giovani but they struggle on the road and Dallas could be too strong here. A third straight 2-1 home victory looks to be in store but this should be close.