After two games without a win, Real Salt Lake look to bounce back in front of a home crowd today (8pm ET Saturday). They host an FC Dallas outfit that scored five goals en route to victory last time out, so it may not simply be a case of returning home and taking three points.
Here we give our RSL vs FC Dallas predictions and picks verdict for this MLS game preview.
Things were going well for the Salt Lake boys, who had won back-to-back games, which had landed them in a pleasing league position. After two defeats on the spin, they’re back down to seventh, which isn’t terrible, but it’s far from impressive either. After conceding six goals in two matches, today’s hosts will be looking to tighten up.
While the home side will be looking for defensive improvements, the visitors will be looking for more of the same offensively after they scored no less than five goals away to Austin FC last time out. That said, they did concede three goals in the process, so they too will be looking for extra sturdiness in defense. FC Dallas is now two matches without a loss, while they’ve only lost two their last eight.
Stronger at home
The hosts were badly beaten last time out, shipping four goals in defeat away at Vancouver, but they’ve not often been all over the place at home from a defensive point of view. In fact, Real Salt Lake can be described as a relatively sturdy outfit in their own backyard. The team previously coached by Freddy Juarez is unbeaten in four at home, picking up three wins and a draw, while RSL has lost just one home out of nine at home since mid-May.
Not only are the hosts picking up positive results at home, but they are doing so without conceding many goals. They have conceded just one in their last three at Rio Tinto Stadium and have conceded more than once in just two out of 11 all season. Such a record is very promising, as is an average of 0.90 goals against.
In terms of results, the FC Dallas men have certainly got their acts together on the road of late. Having gone seven away games without picking up a single point, four road matches without tasting defeat is clear progress. As is the fact that they’ve gone from scoring just two in seven to notching ten in four.
However, if we scratch beneath the surface, it is easy to feel that they are not yet a strong travelling outfit. The win against Austin last time out was certainly merited. They created plenty, and crucially, it was more than they gave away, but prior to that they were fortunate to go three away games without losing, as expected goal differences of -1.3, -1.1 and -1.1 suggest. We’ve seen that they do have the individual quality to hurt teams of late, but their less than secure back-line is still a big concern. Only one team in the Western Conference has conceded more road goals than the Toros, who have been breached 22 times in 11 away games.
Best betting options
Looking at the betting lines with the main American-serving sports betting websites, it’s difficult to go against the hosts, who really do look a good bet at -110 on the moneyline. Yes, the visitors are the ones that come here in better form; they won last time out and should be feeling confident, while the hosts are without a win in two. However, the disparity between RSL’s efforts at home and Dallas’ exploits on the road is hard to ignore.
For all they have lost two on the spin, Real Salt Lake is one hell of a tough nut to crack at Rio Tinto Stadium. They have made a habit of grinding out home wins, emerging victorious from each of their last three at this venue, while they really do give little away. Only two teams in the west have conceded less home goals than RSL this season, while they are one of only two teams in the Western Conference to concede a combined total of less than 10.00 expected goals at home. The hosts give up an average of 0.9 expected goals per home game, so they certainly don’t make it easy for opponents to create chances. In contrast, the visitors don’t exactly make it tough for the opposition to get creative, conceding an average of 1.74 xG on the road.
The solid rear-guard of the hosts can yet again act as a platform for success at home, and it is on this basis that Real Salt Lake is worth supporting to make it four wins from four at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Colombian can do it again for RSL
Anderson Julio once again made an impact from the bench last time out, coming on to net for the second time in three matches, and the Colombian forward may just have done enough to earn himself a starting spot. We’ve been seeing more and more of the striker in recent weeks, and it’s easy to see why. The 25-year-old has netted three goals in his last 255 minutes of soccer in a Real Salt Lake shirt, while he averages an impressive 0.53 expected goals. If he starts, against a relatively weak Dallas’ back-line, the man who also fires off an average of 2.4 shots per 90 minutes gets the nod to find the net.
So these are our RSL vs Dallas predictions and betting picks for this MLS matchup preview: