Know Your Enemy 5/7 Toronto FC
USA Today Sports Images

KNOW YOUR ENEMY: Toronto FC

FC Dallas wraps up a three-game road swing as they head north of the border for the final time in the regular season to face Toronto FC on Saturday. Dallas (5-3-2) will look to bounce back from a pair of losses to start the road trip before a two-match week at home next week. Toronto (3-3-2) will finally make their home debut in 2016 after eight-straight matches on the road to open the season. Both sides sit in 3rd place in their respective conferences, although are separated by six points.

HOME SWEET HOME?

Forced away from home with BMO Field renovations underway, Toronto is already past the halfway mark of their 2016 road schedule just two months into the season. In a brutal road stretch with stops in almost every region of the MLS map, they were able to maintain a .500 record – a stark contrast to their 4-10-3 road record last season. Without another trip on the books until late May and a new-look defense that has allowed a league-low seven goals, TFC appears poised to take the Eastern Conference by storm.

KEY PLAYER FOR TORONTO

Sebastian Giovinco – With six goals already in 2016, the reigning MLS MVP and Golden Boot winner has not missed a beat in the new year. No one else on his side has more than a goal and he is undoubtedly the target up top in Toronto.

KEY MATCH-UPS

Victor Ulloa vs. Sebastian Giovinco – The Homegrown is off to a hot start in 2016 and will face maybe his biggest test yet on Saturday with a dynamic No. 10 unlike the one he’s used to seeing in training.

Mauro Diaz vs. Michael Bradley – With a full match under his belt coming off of injury, Mauro should be back to his dangerous distributing ways on Saturday night. If he can best the USMNT regular in Bradley, he should be a spark to the Dallas attack that hasn’t scored in the last two matches.  

PROJECTED LINEUP (4-4-2)

Goalkeeper: Clint Irwin; Defenders: Justin Morrow, Drew Moor, Damien Perquis, Steven Beitashour; Midfielders: Michael Bradley, Will Johnson, Marco Delgado, Tsubasa Endoh; Forwards: Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore.

KEYS TO THREE POINTS

There’s a buzz of excitement in Toronto for the re-opening of BMO Field and the first weekend without travel for the TFC players. Dallas faces a tall task as they look to crash the party and get back into the win column, but if they can get a Mauro Diaz-orchestrated offense flowing again while shoring up some of the defensive lapses from last week, they should be able to rise to the occasion. 

Topics: