FRISCO, Texas — Following the 2-1 defeat to New Mexico United in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, the attention now turns back to MLS play for FC Dallas starting this Saturday vs. Toronto FC.
Saturday’s match is the beginning of a busy MLS schedule for FC Dallas, which plays three matches in a nine-day period from June 22-30.
Toronto is a team which hasn’t won a match since May 4 and currently sits in 7th place in the Eastern Conference Standings, just one point clear of the playoff line. Similarly, with FC Dallas, Toronto is dealing with rotations to balance the lineup in a hectic schedule following departures of multiple players due to international duty — specifically its starting striker, Jozy Altidore.
The inconsistency to score goals is a glaring issue when looking at the roster for Toronto, especially now with its main attacker out of the picture for the foreseeable future. Since its last win on May 4th, Toronto FC has been outscored 12-5 with a 0-4-3 record.
'Obviously, they have some guys missing, but we do as well," FC Dallas midfielder Paxton Pomykal said. "We can't say that it hurts them because it hurts us as well, so we just have to play it as it is and hopefully we can take the heat to our advantage — keep the ball, move it around, make them run, get them tired and score a lot of goals."
Toronto is a team that plays in a deeper formation than usual — most recently, starting its last game in a 5-3-2 against Sporting KC. Without Altidore in the lineup, Toronto could once again feature an 11 with two strikers at the top of the formation.
FC Dallas will be looking to use the Open Cup loss as fuel for the upcoming string of games. They will provide an opportunity to bounce-back in a big way as there is only a six-point differential between fifth place, where FC Dallas currently stands, and second.
"We hurt," FC Dallas Head Coach Luchi Gonzalez said. "We hurt last night, we're disappointed. We talked about a few things, objectively, that we reflected on from the game that we need to learn, and we move on. We channel everything into preparation for Toronto, and that's the life we live. So, we're looking forward to the opportunity on Saturday."