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Columbus Crew vs. FC Dallas Preview | MLS Soccer Free Pick

MLS Soccer Predictions – Columbus Crew vs FC Dallas

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Onto the week’s MLS preview and prediction for the week.
Matchup: Columbus Crew v FC Dallas
Date: Friday, April 1, 2011
Time: Kick-off: 7:30 PM EST
Venue: Crew Stadium in Columbus, OH.
TV: Fox Soccer
MLS Fixture Betting Lines and Odds from Bodog
Money Line: Columbus +125, FC Dallas +200, Draw +220
Spread: Pick (Columbus +125) Pick (Dallas +200)
Over/Under: 2
Click Here for MLS MATCHUP Stats —>

Both the Columbus Crew and FC Dallas are searching for their first win of the young Major League Soccer season as the two lock horns in the annual Pioneer Cup on Friday night at Crew Stadium.

FC Dallas would prevail over the Crew in last year’s exhibition match in honor of Lamar Hunt, former owner of both clubs, 2-1 on a snow-covered pitch.

Friday’s forecast calls for light rain, but no snow as Columbus prepares for its second consecutive home match after gaining its first result of the season, playing to a scoreless draw with the New York Red Bulls on Saturday afternoon.

Facing a provisional Red Bulls side forced to make six changes because of international duty and injury, Crew keeper William Hesmer was called upon to make two clutch saves, including a stop on Joel Lindpere’s 18-yard strike in stoppage time that preserved the shutout. It gave Columbus its first point in two games this season after falling 3-1 to DC United in its season opener.

A stark contrast to a season ago when the Crew opened unbeaten in eight games (6-0-2).

Meanwhile, FC Dallas went down to defeat for the first time in 2011, falling 2-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at Pizza Hut Park.

Last season’s Budweiser Golden Boot recipient Chris Wondolowski scored a first-half brace, spoiling the debut of FC Dallas designated player Fabian Castillo.

Wolndolowski’s first goal in the fifth minute opened the scoring after chesting down a Chris Leitch pass just inside the Dallas 18-yard box. With a spinning kick, the ball whizzed by past an outstretched Kevin Hartman to give the Quakes an early 1-0 advantage.

Wondolowski then completed his double in the 23rd minute flicking a header past Hartman.

It was FCD’s first loss in two matches this season after gaining a point in their 1-1 draw with Chicago in their home opener.

Head coach Schellas Hyndman made two changes to the team drew with the Fire, replacing a suspended Brek Shea, who was sent off in the season opener, with defender Jair Benitez, while Ricardo Villar made his first MLS start coming in on the wing for Eric Avila. Neither substitution did much to figure into the contest

It was a tough pill to swallow for an FC Dallas side that had not suffered a home loss since being defeated by the LA Galaxy, 1-0 last May. Dallas also conceded two goals in the first half for the first time in 38 games, since Sept. 12, 2009, when they conceded three in the opening 45 minutes of a 6-3 win against the LA Galaxy.

The good news for Dallas is that Columbus hasn’t won at Pizza Hut Park since a 2-1 victory in the summer of 2008. However, the all-time series is deadlocked, with each team having won 15 matches, with eight draws. Dallas has scored one more goal in the 38 meetings, 53-52.

Even though there is no likelihood of snow, the pitch may be a bit harder and faster due to the colder temperatures. Those conditions should favor a Crew side that is used to the harsh Ohio winters.

Dallas needs to get a win, so there is plenty riding on this one, but playing on the road for the first time will present some new challenges, especially a Crew Stadium, a place that is always a tough on visiting clubs.

Matt’s Free Prediction: Columbus 2, FC Dallas 1. – The home team defiantly has the upper hand in this one considering weather, home field advantage and that more than half their oppoenent’s starting XI is missing due to injury and send offs.

Matt Martz is a sportswriter for the Bakersfield Californian, the Oregonian, Springfield Republican, Sacramento Bee, and the San Diego Union Tribune. I leave handicapping to the pros. Blessed is the gambler who expects nothing, for ye shall not be disappointed.


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