Orlando City will host its first MLS home game in the month of May on Saturday when the Lions welcome FC Dallas to the friendly confines of Exploria Stadium at 7:30 p.m. This will be the Lions’ second MLS game in a row against a Western Conference opponent and against a team from Texas after last Sunday’s contentious road match against Austin FC finished in a 2-2 draw.
Let’s take a deep dive into FC Dallas as we look ahead to this Saturday’s match.
Dallas has been above league averages in MLS this season in terms of offensive efficiency. The Toros are tied for sixth in the league in goals scored (21) and they are tied for fourth in assists (23) so far this year. Dallas does not attack opposing defenses with a large quantity of scoring opportunities, with just the 17th most such chances in the league (154), nor are the visitors particularly accurate when they get such opportunities, as they are tied for 15th in MLS in accurate shooting percentage (34.4%). The Toros have, however, found some success in striking from outside the box, where they have four goals this season, which is tied for third in MLS. Another example of offensive efficiency from the Dallas squad this year can be seen in goals per shot on target, which is a category where Dallas currently sits third in MLS (0.38).
Dallas has been one of the best defensive teams in MLS this year, conceding the third-fewest goals of any team (12). One reason why the Texas side has been so dominant on defense this season has been its ability to limit the opposition's scoring chances. Dallas is tied for fifth in MLS this season in total on-target shots against, only allowing opponents 44 such opportunities on the season. Another reason that Dallas has been so efficient at limiting opposing chances, and thus opposing goals, is because the team plays mistake free soccer, ranking tied for first in fewest errors (0), or the total mistakes leading to an opponents scoring attempt. The Toros also rank seventh in tackles (249), 13th in blocks (183), and 14th in clearances (233).
Players to Watch
Forward Jesús Ferreira has not only been the leading goal scorer (9) for Dallas but he also leads MLS. Ferreira is the club’s leader in total scoring attempts (32), as well as in on-target scoring attempts (12). Midfielder Paul Arriola has also been a key asset to the Dallas offense, as he is second on the team in goals (5), total scoring attempts (23), and on-target scoring attempts (8). Arriola has been crucial in setting up scoring chances for his teammates as well, as he is second in crosses (7) and tied for fifth in assists (2).
The Dallas defense has been led by midfielder Paxton Pomykal and defender Marco Farfan. Pomykal is leading the team in tackles (39) and successful pressures (74) and he is second in blocks (23) and interceptions (18). The defensive impact that Pomykal has given Dallas has been especially surprising given that he is a midfielder who is typically called upon to help the club offensively. Meanwhile, Farfan has been a crucial piece in disrupting opponents’ passing and shot creation, leading Dallas in interceptions (22) and blocks (27). Goalkeeper Maarten Paes has started in 11 of the team’s 13 games this year and has only given up nine goals on 33 shots on target, for a save percentage of 72.7%.
This is what I could find on the Lions’ upcoming opponent. Let me know what you think about this Saturday’s match in the comments and as always, go Orlando!