Match Preview: FC Dallas at Toronto FC
All time record: FC Dallas leads the series, 3-1-2
Kickoff is at 3 p.m. CT.
FSSW, Direct Kick, MatchDay Live, CBC (Canada).
Both teams hit the pitch at BMO Field to start the second half of the
season in the thick of the MLS playoff race with Dallas in fifth and
Toronto holding down the eighth seed overall. Toronto have not lost at
home this season and, with four of their next six matches at home, the
next month will be critical in the quest for the franchise’s first
playoff berth. Dallas come in on an impressive six-game unbeaten streak
and have lost only once in their last 11 matches. The last time the two
teams met, Dallas rode two Kenny Cooper goals—including a late
penalty—to a 3-2 win in Frisco, Texas.
The Reds look to rebound after a disappointing 2-1 loss at
Philadelphia last Saturday that snapped their eight-game unbeaten
streak. At 6-5-2, the team has the same record as it did at this point
last season, but with an improved defense and the additions of offensive
reinforcements Mista and Maicon Santos, cautious optimism abounds on
the squad. Mista set up Santos for the lone goal against Bolton
Wanderers in a friendly on Wednesday, but the key will be how the two
meld up front with incumbents Dwayne De Rosario and Chad Barrett.
After starting the season winless in their first five games, the
Hoops have turned things around and become one of the hottest teams in
the league. While teams like Toronto have relied on one or two players
for their offense, Schellas Hyndman’s side has used a balanced attack to
make a charge up the league standings. Four players—David Ferreira, Atiba Harris, Brek Shea and former Toronto striker Jeff Cunningham—have at
least three goals, while US international Heath Pearce has five assists. FCD will face a
stern test at BMO Field in maintaining their six-game unbeaten streak on
the road, but Hyndman believes his team has the right mindset.
“I say two things to them constantly," Hyndman said this week. "'One,
you’re a good team; and two, you’re a good team on the road.' You can’t
say that about a lot of MLS teams. A lot of teams struggle on the road,
and we seem to be a team that comes out and plays pretty well. We go
after teams and take away that home field [advantage], that comfort
zone. It seems to be working.”
Heroes & Villains
FC Dallas forward Jeff Cunningham vs. Toronto FC's Adrian Cann: The big defender will be
tested by the speedy Cunningham and, without support from Nana Attakora, who remains doubtful with a
foot injury, the assignment will be difficult. Cunningham, who left
Toronto in 2008, has been a fixture up front for Dallas and has done
management and fans believe he didn’t do enough of in Toronto: score.
He will look to exploit the defense, but Toronto fans will be on him and
how he handles the derision will be a key to FC Dallas’ performance.
Stat that makes you go, “Hmm ..."
Toronto are undefeated at home in MLS play this season, outscoring
opponents11-3, while Dallas are unbeaten in their last six away matches