The MLS season is underway and teams are already beginning to separate themselves from pretenders and contenders after just four games.
This weekend in the Western Conference we'll see two of the top teams from last season go head-to-head early on in this campaign to try and get a steal over their rivals, as Los Angeles FC face off against FC Dallas in California.
We'll take a look at the fixture and break down their chances of success, while handing out our best free soccer picks for you to see if we can earn you some extra cash for the weekend.
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Los Angeles FC vs FC Dallas information
- Saturday, March 25th, 2023
- Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles, California
- 23:30 ET kick-off
- Western Conference
Los Angeles FC season so far
After losing Gareth Bale in the off-season as he opted to retire following the World Cup with Wales, there was some doubt as to whether or not LA would be able to replace the quality and firepower he brought to the side.
They started the MLS season well however, claiming a 3-2 home win over the Portland Timbers in the opening game of the season as Giorgio Chiellini, Carlos Vela and Kwadwo Opoku got on the scoresheet before they almost blew their lead.
Game two was just as eventful, but went almost exclusively in their favor as they claimed a big 4-0 win over the New England Revolution thanks to goals from Denis Bouanga (2), Timothy Tillman and Stipe Biuk.
The third league game of the season didn't quite go to plan, as they dropped their first points of the campaign following a 0-0 draw with the Seattle Sounders.
LA also played twice in the CONCACAF Champions League, defeating Alajuense 3-0 in the first leg thanks to a Bouanga hat-trick. That meant their 2-1 defeat in the second leg didn't matter, as they progressed to the quarter-finals on aggregate where they will meet Vancouver Whitecaps.
FC Dallas season so far
Dallas reached the conference semi-finals last season and came in this season with the hope of replicating that good form and potentially going further.
The season didn't start too well though, as their opening game of the season ended in a 1-0 defeat against Minnesota United FC at home.
They followed that up in game week 2 with an impressive 3-1 win over LA Galaxy, thanks to goals from Alan Velasco and Jesus Ferreira (2) to help them come from behind to claim their first three points of the campaign.
A draw against Vancouver Whitecaps followed with both teams scoring one each, before they claimed another impressive win over Sporting Kansas City last weekend with goals from the same two players as they once again came from behind.
They currently sit in fourth place in the Western Conference after four games played, five points behind league leaders St Louis City having played the same number of games.
Soccer picks: Back the unders
Goals have been a big part of both of these sides' seasons so far, but history is against that when you look a little bit deeper.
Witnessing goals at both ends has proven to be quite unusual in top-flight fixtures in which Los Angeles FC are the home team, with this being the case in just five of their previous 19 matches.
On top of that, title-chasing FC Dallas clearly know how to keep clean sheets, managing to do so in 11 of their most recent 17 games at the top table of the MLS.
Both teams will no doubt prioritise the fact that they don't want to lose rather than going all out to win at such an early stage of the season, and when you look at the way things have gone so far in a tight game it's LA FC who have the individual quality edge too.
Expect a relatively tight game to begin with before the home crowd get a little bit restless and push them to claim a close victory with less than three goals going in between the sides.
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Soccer picks: Los Angeles FC to win
These are two teams who will be vying for the championship for the majority of the season, but it's Los Angeles who are the front runners and the reigning champions.
Denis Bouanga has been in exceptional form so far during the campaign with five goals in all competitions, and the FC Dallas defense has hardly been the best this season.
They have failed to keep a single clean sheet this season so far, and they're now set to come up against the best attack in the division. Only St. Louis have scored more goals than LA FC this season, but they have played a game more.
Carlos Vela is still racking up goal contributions as he has been doing for years, and with a championship to defend they will be expected to find a way through these tough fixtures to claim victory as often as possible.
Back them to show why they're the reigning champions and favorites to be crowned once again by getting a big win at home here.
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