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Match Preview: FC Dallas at Toronto FC

The Basics

Toronto FC (6-5-4, 22 points, 3rd place Eastern Conference) vs. FC Dallas (6-2-7, 25 points, 3rd place Western Conference)

All time record: FC Dallas leads the series, 3-1-2

Match Preview

WATCH: FC Dallas at Toronto FC preview

TV Info

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.

Toronto FC

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.

FC Dallas

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 what TFC 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 (2-0-4).