MLS newcomers Austin FC look to make it two wins on the bounce when they host oldtimers FC Dallas at Q2 Stadium on Sunday evening. The visitors go in search of their first win in four matches.
This won’t be the first meeting between the pair this season, nor will it be the first this month. Around three weeks ago, Dallas won by two goals to nil in their own backyard. Saturday’s hosts will be hoping to get revenge.
Austin FC – Lacking firepower
It’s been a tough first season in Major League Soccer for Austin FC, though the campaign hasn’t been without moments of promise, while they’re not cut adrift at the bottom of the Western Conference, as many an expansion side has been in the past.
Overall, a lack of goals has prevented Josh Wolff’s men from building any real momentum, which is why they’re some way short of the level required to reach the play-offs. Fortunately, their best soccer has been played in front of a home crowd, where 11 of their seventeen goals have been scored. After beating Portland Timbers at Q2 Stadium recently, the hosts probably won’t be short on confidence ahead of this fixture, especially as they’re up against a Dallas side that is just three points above them in the standings.
Expected Line-Up: Stuver – Lima, Cascante, Besler, Kolmanic – Ring, Pereira – Fagundez, Driussi, Dominguez – Gallagher.
with best odds
FC Dallas – Treading water
Sunday’s visitors did stop the rot last time out by tying 2-2 away against the Houston Dynamo, but a lack of three points there signalled three games without picking up a win. However, it also signalled three away matches without tasting defeat, which is rarely a bad thing.
In general, the visitors have struggled away from home this season, losing seven out of ten, only one of which they’ve won. Only two teams in the west have conceded more travelling goals than Luchi Gonzalez’s men, while only one team in that conference has scored fewer road goals.
Expected Line-Up: Phelipe – Twumasi, Burgess, Hedges, Hollingshead – Cerrillo, Servania – Schon, Ferreira, Jara – Pepi.
Expert Pick #1 – Austin FC to Win @+105
Austin may be three points behind Dallas in the Western Conference, but that doesn’t mean that this is a great opportunity for the hosts to pick up three points. Their recent home efforts, especially when beating both Houston and Portland haven’t been bad at all, while their underlying numbers at home are far superior to Dallas’ on the road.
Wolff’s men have an average expected goal difference of +0.11 at home, which isn’t exactly impressive, though it’s far better than the average of FC Dallas on the road, which currently stands at -0.70. Austin’s goal difference of +1 at home also looks very good next to the travelling goal difference of Dallas, which is a disappointing -8. Having scored seven in their last three home matches, against visitors who continue to concede more than they create, the Austin boys are supported to collect all three points.
Expert Pick #2 – Austin FC to Score Over 1.5 Goals @+110
It’s worth doubling up here and siding with the hosts to bag a brace of goals too. Goals haven’t always come easy for the hosts, who’ve scored a modest 11 in nine home games, but they’ve got their act together of late, scoring seven in their last three at home, during which time they’ve created an average of 1.8 expected goals for. Not only has Dallas shipped an average of 1.9 goals away from home, but they’ve conceded an average of 1.78 expected goals too.
Expert Pick #3 – Jon Gallagher to Score @+300
Irishman Jon Gallagher hasn’t exactly been prolific since joining Austin FC from Atlanta United, scoring two goals in 17 appearances, but this match against a weak Dallas back-line provides the attacker a good opportunity to add to his tally. An average of 0.29 expected goals per 90 minutes isn’t too bad, nor is an average of 1.86 shots per 90. If you’re looking for a player prop, then at odds of +300, a small play on Gallagher is about the best option here.
As touched on above, it’s not been a great season for Austin, but they’ve had some encouraging results at home of late, and have played well in the process. Moreover, this home match against opposition that has been very poor on the road provides the hosts with a superb opportunity to get the job done.