FC Dallas vs. Portland Odds
|FC Dallas Odds||+114|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-159 / +117)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 8 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||ESPN+|
|Odds updated Friday evening via DraftKings.|
Dallas will still be searching for its first win of the year on Saturday night when it hosts a Portland squad currently balancing the early regular season and Concacaf Champions League play.
Dallas has historically dominated this clash between the perennial Western Conference contenders when they play in Texas. The Timbers have only won once in 12 regular-season trips to Toyota Stadium.
Adding to Portland’s challenge this time is the prospect of a journey to Mexico City following their Texas visit, to conclude their two-leg CCL quarterfinal against Club America following a 1-1 draw on Wednesday night.
It could all set up for Dallas’ best XI to take advantage of a rotated Timbers squad. But will it? And can they?
Dallas is one of the league’s most aggressive clubs in terms of producing and then selling talent, and turning its roster over year on year. This season is no different with 11 offseason departures and nine arrivals.
Perhaps a lack of continuity within the squad has contributed to a slow start.
Jimmy Maurer had to make six saves to preserve an opening weekend 0-0 draw at home against the Colorado Rapids. Then Dallas found itself down three goals before Ricardo Pepi’s consolation tally late in a loss at San Jose last Saturday.
In the latter game, FCD’s offense was better than the 3-1 final score indicated, generating 1.6 to 1.9 expected goals (xG) worth of offense, depending on whose statistics you trust.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.
Jesus Ferreira remains out with a shoulder injury, but manager Luchi Gonzalez has more striking talent than his offense’s production suggests.
Well-traveled former Pachuca marksman, Franco Jara, had seven goals in 19 MLS appearances last season. Jader Obrian is coming off consecutive double-digit scoring seasons in Colombia’s top flight.
Although the nature of their late game-tying penalty may be disputed, Portland was thoroughly deserving of their Leg 1 draw against Las Aguilas on Wednesday night following a vastly improved second-half performance.
The question is how much focus and energy they’ll have left in the tank three days later, with a difficult task looming in Mexico City on Wednesday.
Giovanni Savarese has already committed to some squad rotation. Older regulars like Diego Valeri, Diego Chara, Yimi Chara and Larrys Mabiala are among those who seem likely candidates to be rested.
The problem is Savarese’s unusually deep bench (by MLS standards) is less so right now due to injuries.
Attackers Sebastian Blanco and Jaroslaw Niezgoda have not played in 2021 due to respective ACL tears last season. Blanco — the MVP of the 2020 MLS is Back Tournament — is listed as questionable in Portland’s injury report and appears close to a return. Jeremy Ebobisse (quad strain) did not dress on Wednesday and is also questionable for Saturday.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The last time the Timbers and other MLS clubs played following CCL commitments, it didn’t go well for them.
Portland failed to score in an away loss to Vancouver. Columbus and Philadelphia drew each other, and Atlanta also settled for a scoreless draw at Orlando. Toronto was romped 4-2 by Montreal.
That trend (and the injuries impacting Portland’s attacking depth) could make the under appealing, especially since Dallas has also struggled offensively early.
To me, though, backing the hosts is safer. They’re due some finishing luck after creating nearly 3 total xG in two games, while only scoring once. They’re on a normal week’s rest, they’re healthier, and there should be no lack of focus after the first two results put them in an early hole.
FiveThirtyEight’s projections suggest a 44% chance of Dallas victory. For me the context it considerably higher, well above the 47% implied probability of backing them at +114 odds.
Pick: Dallas money line (+114)
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