The international soccer action takes a break on Thursday, but luckily there is a trio of MLS games to fill the void, including a showdown between FC Dallas and DC United. As the home team, FC Dallas is favored at -129 while DC United is an underdog at +326. Meanwhile, the moneyline for a draw is +270.
FC Dallas is holding steady at fourth in the Western Conference standings despite a loss at Portland over the weekend. The Toros had been on a scoring binge for most of June, scoring 14 goals in six games heading into that game. They will now be eager to get back on track quickly, as they have just a three-point cushion for a playoff spot.
Meanwhile, DC is in the middle of a tight race atop the Eastern Conference standings. The top four teams in the conference entered mid-week action separated by just three points, so a win on Thursday would be huge for them. United hasn’t lost a league game since May 18, although they have four draws and a win since then. They’ve struggled to impose themselves on opponents and grab all three points, something they’d like to change.
The Rooney Show
It’s no secret that Wayne Rooney has become the main man in Washington these days. He’s a little more than a week removed from scoring a stunning goal from 68 yards out. Rooney also saved DC by converting a late penalty kick over the weekend to give United a draw against Toronto. On the season, he leads the team in both goals and assists, so it’s safe to say that everything flows through him. However, given the team’s busy schedule over the past month, one has to wonder if he might be starting to tire out.
One of DC’s other top attacking players, Paul Arriola, is still on international duty, giving Rooney even less support than usual. Arriola gives DC one fewer match-winner on the squad. His absence has hurt the team’s overall depth and hindered their ability to rotate at the attacking spots during a busy stretch of the season. Of course, United’s saving grace could be that they have one of the best defensive records in the league, so it’s possible that one goal could be enough.
Who’s the Man?
Being held without a goal against Portland over the weekend was a rare occurrence for Dallas this season. However, it’s hard to ignore that they are lacking in bona fide goal scorers. The Toros boast only two players with more than three goals on the season. While DC can rely on Rooney to be their go-to guy, Jesus Ferreira isn’t quite there yet. That being said, Paxton Pomykal has been playing better of late, and Michael Barrios is a threat as well, so the Toros do have some decent options going forward.
FC Dallas has just one clean sheet in their last 10 league games. The Toros are steady defensively with Matt Hedges and Reto Ziegler at center back and Jesse Gonzalez in goal. However, they’ve been far from dominant, so it may be difficult for them to keep a red-hot Rooney under wraps for 90 minutes.
FC Dallas has been so bad on the road that they will be desperate to win Thursday’s home game. On the other hand, United knows they can’t afford to drop points in such a tight Eastern Conference race. United has also been a draw machine of late. Bet on FC Dallas and DC United to play to a tie on Thursday night.