San Jose Earthquakes vs. FC Dallas Prediction, Preview, and Odds - 11/7/21
Western Conference foes will meet to close out the regular season on Sunday afternoon when the San Jose Earthquakes host FC Dallas at PayPal Park. Dallas is eliminated from playoff contention in 11th place in the West at 7-11-15, although it is coming off a 2-1 home win over Austin FC last Saturday as a +104 underdog. San Jose pulled off a 4-3 road upset of Real Salt Lake last weekend to hit at huge +473 odds, but also won’t be going to the postseason at 10-10-13, good for 10th place.
This is the third and final meeting of the season after San Jose picked up a 3-1 home win way back in late April before the two teams battled to a 1-1 draw in Dallas in September. The Earthquakes lead the all-time series 25-25-17.
Dallas hopes to close season on high note after rivalry win
There’s plenty of questions ahead for Dallas after a disappointing season, but it least managed to claim Copa Tejas with a dramatic victory over Austin last weekend to snap a 10-match winless streak. Austin struck first in the 36th only for Jesus Ferreira to equalize two minutes later on a short-range shot, and Dallas capitalized on the visitors being down to 10 men with Franco Jara securing the game-winner in the 80th with his first touch of the night just moments after being subbed on.
It was an even game, as Dallas had 52% possession while both teams managed 10 total shot attempts and three on target. Jáder Obrian was credited with the assist on Dallas’ opening goal, while netminder Jimmy Maurer dealt with some moments of Austin pressure well and made two saves.
”Feels good. They were able to reward themselves, deliver something to the fans and to the club,” said interim coach Marco Ferruzzi to the Dallas Morning News after picking up his first win. ”The discussion today at halftime and the pregame talk was we have to push it across the line and play the game as complete as possible. There were times when we weren’t on the front foot and Austin had control of the game. That was obvious, but we didn’t panic.”
Offense wasn’t the problem this season with Dallas averaging a solid 1.39 goals and 13.18 shots per game. The Dallas defense struggled badly, allowing 1.67 goals and 13.54 shots per match while keeping just four clean sheets.
Rising superstar Ricardo Pepi leads the Dallas attack with 13 goals and two assists at just 18 years old, although this will likely be his last match with the club with larger European teams having interest. Ferreira is also having a terrific season with eight goals and a team-high seven assists, while Obrian has also scored eight times in addition to dishing out three helpers.
Starting midfielder Facundo Quignon has missed a month with a thigh problem, and while he didn’t appear on the injury report last weekend, he also wasn’t in the lineup. Defender John Nelson (back) is out after making six starts this season, while reserve forward Beni Redzic (ankle) is sidelined. Goaltender Phelipe Megiolaro, who made 10 starts earlier in the year, is out with a thigh injury.
Earthquakes turn in impressive performance with season winding down
It’s too little too late to make the playoffs, but San Jose has been a capable enough team lately, and picked up a nice win over Real Salt Lake last weekend in a notoriously difficult road environment. After the hosts struck just nine minutes in, San Jose equalized in the 37th on Carlos Fierro’s goal before
veteran Chris Wondolowski headed in another just prior to halftime. Teenager Cade Cowell finished off an impressive run for a goal in the 69th before Jackson Yueill added to the lead 10 minutes later, which proved to be important as Real Salt Lake would score twice in the final moments for a 4-3 final.
Magic.— San Jose Earthquakes (@SJEarthquakes) October 30, 2021
Remember the name Cade Cowell. pic.twitter.com/4JiwZkfK2I
While Real Salt Lake had 61% possession and an 18-15 advantage in total shots as it chased the game, the Earthquakes made their six attempts on target count. JT Marcinkowski had a great match as he made six saves while also getting credited for an assist on Cowell’s goal.
“What is most important for me is that every player at San Jose has a sense of belonging. For many people, the match was not significant, but we were playing for honor, for our fans, the owner and team staff, and everyone that contributes their grain of sand in playing for a win. Even though we’re out of the playoff race, there were some positives, such as the young players making progress throughout the year,” said head coach Matias Almeyda to San Jose’s website about the team’s motivation.
There have been a lot of positives for the Earthquakes offense, which is averaging 1.36 goals and 12.72 shots per match with one left to play. San Jose’s defense has struggled badly, allowing 1.61 goals and 15.36 shots per match while keeping five clean sheets.
Javier Eduardo López put together a fantastic season to lead the San Jose offense with 12 goals and three assists. Cristian Espinoza leads the Earthquakes with eight assists in addition to his three goals, while the 18-year-old Cowell is a rising star with five goals and five assists.
Key midfielder Shea Salinas suffered a knee injury two weeks ago against Vancouver and figures to still be out for this Sunday. Defender Luciano Abecasis, who has 14 starts on the season, is sidelined by a leg injury. Tommy Thompson is also missing from the San Jose backline after recently undergoing shoulder surgery. Reserve goaltender Matt Bersano has a hand injury.
Side prediction: San Jose Earthquakes +110
Total: Over 3 (+110)
Both teams are going to finish the season about equal in the standings, but San Jose has been better of late as some of its young talent has developed over the course of the season. Beating last place Austin doesn’t exactly indicate that Dallas has turned things around following its 10-match winless streak, and it has been one of the worst teams away from home this season.
There’s a lot to like about this Earthquakes offense that has piled up 20 goals over the last 10 matches despite a fairly difficult schedule, as Cowell’s speed makes him a tough cover, Lopez has been a fantastic playmaker all season, and even the MLS all-time leading scorer Wondolowski still has something left at 38 years old. That’s going to cause a lot of problems for a Dallas backline that has been a mess all season while allowing 1.87 expected goals per road match, fifth-worst in MLS.
The Dallas offense drops off on the road, and the team isn’t good enough otherwise to overcome that, resulting in a 2-4-10 mark away from home. San Jose should not be getting plus odds at home against a bad opponent, and will finish the season strong following its impressive performance last week.
These are two of the worst scoring defenses in MLS, and there’s plenty of exciting attacking talent on both offenses to make this a shootout. Pepi gets most of the headlines after his breakout season both for club and country but Ferreira and Obrian have also been excellent this year, helping Dallas manage roughly an average offense by metrics despite the team’s overall struggles.
This is not a good San Jose defense at 1.67 expected goals allowed per match overall, just narrowly ahead of Dallas’ number for the season, and the Earthquakes are down a couple pieces on the backline due to injuries. Expect both teams to play fast and loose with nothing on the line besides pride, leading to an exciting shootout.