Austin FC vs Dallas Preview, Betting Predictions, MLS Playoff Game Picks: Go For Goals

Paul ArriolaSides that both came through the first round via a penalty shootout will collide in the playoff quarter finals on Sunday (8pm ET) when Austin FC hosts FC Dallas at Q2 Stadium. Will we see another dramatic finish? Read on for our preview of this MLS playoff game with betting predictions and picks.

Hosts made life hard for themselves

Ahead of that first-round tie at Q2 Stadium last weekend, the Austin boys hadn’t been in great form, and if we’re being completely honest, it showed as they were slow to start. RSL took a two-goal lead early on, and even though the men in green and black started their fight-back before half time thanks to a timely header from star man Sebastián Driussi, they struggled to hit their stride.

Despite seeing an RSL player receive a red card almost immediately after the second half kicked off, Josh Wolff’s men still found it hard to advance. They once again relied on Driussi, who forced extra time with a well struck PK in stoppage time. Finally, after a penalty shootout the job was done, but it is fair to say that they made hard work of what was supposed to be a relatively straightforward assignment.

Dallas did it the hard way too

For Sunday’s visitors, the first round didn’t exactly go smoothly. They too had to do it the hard way. Despite having home advantage, they fell behind to Minnesota, who took the lead early in the second half. Fortunately, Dallas did not throw in the towel. They stuck to the task, fought back through Facundo Quignon, who scored after 64 minutes. Try as they might, the Texan team was unable to force a way through before extra time, while an added 30 minutes didn’t help provide a route to goal either. To penalties the game went, and after five successful spot kicks, FC Dallas made it through.

Can they keep it tight?

We know all about the quality that Austin have going forward. With Sebastián Driussi and Diego Fagundez, they have a dazzling duo that can hurt any team, but the question is often the same when the men in green and black jerseys take to the field. Can they keep things tight and allow their offensive players to make the difference? All too often the answer to that question has been a resounding no.

The first-round playoff game was a perfect example. Wolff’s men shot themselves in the foot by switching off and conceding two early goals. They have now kept just one clean sheet in their last 13 at home, which is worrying. They have conceded two or more in six of those 13. You get the feeling if Austin are going to pull through, it is not going to be in low-scoring fashion. In fact, during the regular season, only one of their eight home wins contained less than three goals.

Defensive woes on the road

For FC Dallas, it was a rather up and down regular season on the road. They picked up their fair share of points, winning four and tying seven, which helped them to end the campaign with the fifth best away-day record in the west.

Why didn’t they do better than that? A lack of defensive security must be cited as the primary reason. Between the end of April and the end of the regular season, Dallas kept just two traveling clean sheets. Not great considering they played 14 games during that time.

Goals galore

When this pair takes to the field together it is usually an exciting affair, at least in terms of goalmouth action. They met twice during the regular season, tying 1-1 in Dallas, after playing out a 2-2 tie at Q2 Stadium in June. Interestingly, both teams have found the net in each of the last four renewals of this fixture, while three of those four games have produced at least three goals. The two previous renewals at Q2 Stadium ended 2-2 and 3-5, so anyone hoping to see a high-scoring game at least has recent history on their side.

Go with goals in the betting

If you are looking for the best option in the betting, then ‘Over 2.5 Goals’ is hard to oppose. Both teams have some quite noticeable holes in their backlines, which is why clean sheets were hard to come by for both during the regular campaign.

The hosts know all about being involved in high-scoring games at home, it is what they do. Thanks to their cavalier approach, the goals often rain down on Q2 Stadium, which is why 71% of their home games contained three or more goals. For Dallas on the road, this figure is not so high at 53%, but that still gives us a combined ‘Over 2.5 Goals’ percentage of 62%.

Moreover, if we break down their goals scored and conceded, Austin FC scored and conceded a combined average of 3.82 goals at Q2 Stadium. Combine this with the fact that the pair twice played out high-scoring games at this venue last season and ‘Over 2.5 Goals’ starts to appeal greatly.

Paul’s the player prop

For those looking for something at bigger odds why not take a chance on the visiting Paul Arriola to score. The US international can be very effective on the break, which is why he tends to enjoy playing against an attacking team such as Austin. During the regular season, Arriola scored both home and away against Sunday’s opponents, so why not take a chance on the wide forward, who averages healthy 0.35 goals per 90 minutes. These are our Austin FC vs Dallas predictions and betting picks for this MLS playoff game preview: