Preview: Austin FC vs. Dallas – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Major League Soccer clash between Austin FC and Dallas, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two of Major League Soccer’s Texan outfits will do battle on Sunday, as Austin FC entertain Dallas.

The sides both find themselves fighting around the top end of the Western Conference standings in third and fourth spots respectively, with the hosts two points better off than their opponents.

Match preview

Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff on the sideline during the first half against the San Jose Earthquakes at PayPal Park on April 2, 2022© Reuters

Austin FC have enjoyed a strong start o the MLS season on the whole, having, thus far, established themselves in the playoff places with eight victories and 27 points from their opening 15 matches.

They had to battle through a tough spell recently, though, as a five-game span produced just four points with a win over Los Angeles FC firstly followed by a draw against Orlando City.

Josh Wolff‘s side were then brushed aside by Los Angeles Galaxy, eventually falling to a 4-1 defeat despite Diego Fagundez giving them a lead in the second half, as Javier Hernandez and Efrain Alvarez hit goals either side of a Dejan Joveljic double for the Galaxy.

Looking to bounce back to form after that slight dip in form, Austin travelled to take on CF Montreal last time out, and their hopes took a major hit as Daniel Pereira was sent off on the stroke of half time, only for Maximiliano Urruti to hit the only goal of the game after the hour mark to seal all three points.

With that win taking them to third place, above state rivals and Sunday’s opponents Dallas, they will hope to further strengthen their place at the top end of the Western Conference, with a slim chance of even going top if other results also go their way.

FC Dallas forward Franco Jara (29) celebrates with teammates after scoring a penalty kick goal during the second half against Nashville SC at Toyota Stadium on March 12, 2022© Reuters

Dallas will make the relatively short trip hoping to break a tough run of their own after impressing with their start to the campaign.

With six wins, 22 points and just one defeat from their opening 11 outings, the Burn looked a force to be reckoned with in the playoff fight, albeit still at an early stage.

That impressive streak was eventually put to an end by consecutive 2-1 defeats at the hands of Vancouver Whitecaps and Minnesota United, before they temporarily bounced back with a 3-1 beating of Orlando City thanks to a Paul Arriola brace and a Franco Jara goal.

Dallas’ celebrations were short-lived, though, as they again fell short in a contest against Vancouver Whitecaps last time out, with Lucas Cavallini and Deiber Caicedo netting the decisive goals in the first half.

Having now dropped away from the top two and below Sunday’s opponents, Nico Estevez‘s side will aim to return to winning ways in what is lining up to be a crucial encounter in the fight for higher playoff spots.

Austin FC Major League Soccer form:

Austin FC form (all competitions):

Dallas Major League Soccer form:

Dallas form (all competitions):

Team News

Austin FC forward Maximiliano Urruti (37) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the San Jose Earthquakes during the first half at PayPal Park on April 2, 2022© Reuters

Austin FC are without midfielder Daniel Pereira, who will serve a suspension at the weekend after he was sent off in their recent contest against CF Montreal.

In his absence, Felipe Martins could line up in the engine room, potentially as the only change to the starting XI after their triumph with 10 men last time out.

Maximiliano Urruti will continue to play a key role in attack after scoring his fifth goal of the season in that win.

Dallas’ line should be led by star man Jesus Ferreira, who has netted nine goals and provided four assists in just 15 league appearances so far this campaign.

Paul Arriola has been another star performer with seven goals and three assists in 14 MLS games, with competition rife for the final place in a front three.

Franco Jara will hope to be given the nod over Alan Velasco, while centre-back Jose Martinez was brought off during the recent defeat to Vancouver Whitecaps and may have to watch from the sidelines on Sunday if Joshue Quinonez is preferred.

Austin FC possible starting lineup:
Stuver; Jimenez, Cascante, Gabrielsen, Gallagher; Ring, Martins; Wolff, Driussi, Fagundez; Urruti

Dallas possible starting lineup:
Paes; Twumasi, Quinonez, Tafari, Farfan; Servania, Quignon, Pomykal; Jara, Ferreira, Arriola

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We say: Austin FC 2-2 Dallas

Given the two teams’ similarly positive starts to the MLS season, we predict a tight and intriguing encounter that could go either way.

Ultimately, we cannot quite pick a winner, given Austin’s momentum and home advantage could be cancelled out by the visitors’ attacking firepower.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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