MLS Western Championship Picks: FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, November 25, 2015 8:30 PM UTC

Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015 8:30 PM UTC

Is the team Formerly Known as The Dallas Burn worth looking at in the betting markets or is there a better approach? Let’s examine and come up with a soccer pick or two.

Odds Overview
FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers [Sunday 22:00] Texas is the site of this crucial Western Conference MLS Playoffs Leg 2 between host FC Dallas (18-6-10, 52 GF-39 GA) and the conference’s 3rd-place club, the Portland Timbers (15-8-11, 41 GF-39 GA), who won the opening Leg 1 on Sunday, 3-1 at Home in Portland at Providence Park to take a commanding lead heading in here. Oddsmakers have made host FC Dallas -125 favorites here with Portland priced at +320 and the Draw set at +275 (bet365) with the Total (Goals) set at 2½ with the Over priced at -102 and the Under at -121 (bet 365). Some other Props offered in the MLS Odds Boad for this critical fixture from the Lone Star State which will send a team to the MLS Cup: Both Teams To Score: Yes -125, No -125 (Stan James); Draw No Bet: FC Dallas -333, Portland +187 (Stan James); and, To Qualify: FC Dallas +275, Portland -400 (bet365).

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Portland Timbers FC
The Portland Timbers (7-2-8 Road, 18 GF-26 GA) and Head Coach Caleb Porter looked pretty good in their 3-1 win in Leg 1 at Home on Sunday as two Defenders—stud Nat Borchers and Jorge Villafaña—had goals along with MF Dairon Asprilla in the nice 3-1 Win with that late, log-sawing third goal providing a nice psychological comfort zone heading in here. In the win, Portland (+275 to win MLS Cup, 10sport) employed a 4-2-3-1 tactical formation starting GK Adam Kwarasey; D Alvas Powell, D Nat Borchers, D Jorge Villafaña, D Liam Ridgewell; MF Jack Jewsbury, MF Diego Chará; MF Darlington Nagbe (5 goals), MF Dairon Asprilla, MF Lucas Melano; and F Fanendo Adi (18 goals). Timbers Coach Porter may decide to employ a 4-3-3 formation here to begin, holding a 3-1 lead heading in Leg 2, to try to present a more Defensive shape and mentality against this speedy and now desperate FCD side. Expect the prolific Adi to create problems for the hosts with Borchers, Jewsbury, Asprilla and it seems if the visiting Timbers—which had F’s Will Johnson and Maximiliano Urudi (5 goals) come in off bench—can somehow come up with an Away goal here, they will be advancing on to the MLS Cup Finals and proudly representing the soccer-loving Pacific Northwest.


FC Dallas
FC Dallas (13-2-2 Away, 33 GF-15 GA) has been pretty darn good at Home in Frisco at Toyota Stadium this season and they’ll have to be here, chasing a 3-1 deficit in Leg 2 and surrendering a Road goal in Leg 1 on Sunday in Oregon. Starting for FC Dallas (+600 to win MLS Cup, 10sport) in their Starting XI against Portland in Leg 1 in a tactical 4-2-3-1 formation were: GK Jesse Gonzalez; D Ryan Hollingshead, D Zach Loyd, D Matt Hedges, D Je-Vaughn Wilson; M Victor Ulloa, M Kellyn Acosta; MF Fabian Castillo, MF Mauro Diaz, MF Michael Barrios (7 goals); F David Texeira (7 goals). Here, FC Dallas Head Coach Óscar Pareja will have to have his squad force the pace and really go for it early on here on in Leg 2 on Sunday and scoring first will be imperative for Castillo (10 goals), Diaz (8 goals) and this speedy FCD club which gets scoring from all places and had Blas Pérez (5 goals) and Testro Akindele (7 goals) on the bench against the Timbers in Leg 1 up in Portland. Striker David Texeira had the lone goal when it was a 2-0 score in the 2nd Half (62”) for FCD which may benefit from the Away goals should this come down to a tiebreaker with an FC Dallas 2-0 win. The big things to look for from the hosts are Desperation and Pace, and it’s simple to handicap what ways those traits may affect the eventual Final Score here this weekend.

Must Read: MLS Cup Playoffs-Western Championship Betting Preview

Current Form, Series Trends and (Hopefully) Logical Situational Conclusions
Like most MLS series and most European and World soccer leagues, the Home teams tend to rule the roost here with the Portland Timbers going an unbeaten 5-2-0 at Home (15 GF-8 GA) against FC Dallas after Sunday’s 3-1 Win at Providence Park in Portland while FC Dallas is 4-2-1 (17 GF- 6 GA) against the Timbers in numbers fairly small as the Timbers are a relatively new franchise in the growing MLS. Maybe the two biggest questions here are 1—Can the Timbers score an Away goal or score first and maybe put this one away mentally early on? And, 2—Can FC Dallas manage a big comeback here with all of the pressure on? And the answers to both questions are ‘Yes’. Portland has enough firepower on the attack and confidence now to both play Defensively knowing FCD is chasing a 2-goal deficit and to get a precious Goal (or two) from one of its many talents like Adi, Borchers, Jack Jewsbury, Nagbe or Urudi. And Portland knows scoring first would almost kill the hosts.
And for FC Dallas, a big Win is entirely possible as the club’s largest Home Win and scoring output came against these Timbers in the Regular Season in a no-mercy 4-1 victory for the hosts. And with playmakers MF Diego Valeri and Left Winger Wallace available after serving Suspensions for Yellow Card accumulations, this just seems like an awfully big and insurmountable task for FC Dallas which will need to score at least 3 goals (and probably at least one more) should Portland find a way to score here against GK Gonzalez. With all of that and the desired quicker pace in mind, backing the Over 2½ at the decent price now (-102, bet365) for a small to moderate amount as well as the Both Teams To Score (Yes -125, Stan James) for an equally conservative amount in a game seems to be the safest soccer pick in a game which should have a least goal at Halftime due to the nervous Frenzy from the trailing goal- and game-wise Texas hosts.

Predicted Final Score: FC Dallas 2 Portland Timbers 1
MLS Cup Playoffs Free Picks: Over 2½ -102 at Bet365, Both Teams To Score ‘Yes’ -125 (Stan James)

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