MLS Weekend Preview: Struggling Toronto Travel to Texas

Jozy Altidore, Toronto FC

When you have players like Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco on your team, people will expect you to win. So far, it has been anything but smooth sailing for Toronto FC this season. Currently sitting second from the bottom in a tough Eastern Conference, the Canadian side has lost three straight matches including a 3-2 thriller against a weak Chicago Fire team.

The search for the club’s second victory of the season will not get any easier this weekend when they travel to Dallas to play their fifth consecutive away game. It looks as if all of the travel has taken a toll on Toronto’s back line. The team has given up two goals in three of the first four games this season, and they have been unable to register a single clean sheet in that span as well. The lack of a consistent center back tandem, no player in this position has started all four games, has led to an absence of chemistry in front of Joe Bendik in net and in turn led to more chances for the opposition. A lack of discipline on the field has also hurt the Canadian side with players seeing red in two of the games this season.

Even with all of the attacking power that Toronto has, you can’t win games without a defense. The team’s unproven backline will have to put in their best performance of the season if they want to leave Texas with any points at all. Expect manager Greg Vanney to drill defensive basics into his team’s head throughout the week in preparation for Saturday’s matchup.

The hosts are currently second place in the Western Conference but have been seen a drastic dip in their early season form. After winning their first three games of the season, FC Dallas has now lost two of their previous three and have yet to win all three points since March 21. Similar to Saturday’s opponents, Dallas has suffered major defensive struggles in their recent games, which have included 3-1 and 4-0 defeats to Portland and Colorado respectively.

In this horrendous three game span, the team from Texas has been without one of their best players, midfielder Mauro Díaz. Since his injury against Philadelphia, Dallas has only scored once and their attack has yet to show the same potency it did in the first three matches. The soreness in his leg is the latest in a string of injuries that have plagued Díaz’s career in MLS, and a return to the field looks doubtful at best for the Argentine.

Saturday will provide the opportunity for both teams to get back on a winning track and hopefully gain some much needed momentum to kick start their season. Dallas will need the Blás Perez that scored three goals in three matches at the start of the season to find his scoring touch in order to exploit the shaky Toronto backline. Toronto will need their stars to finally show why the club spent so much money to bring them to the MLS and step up another gear to get their second victory of the season.

At this point in the season, I feel like away games no longer bother Toronto considering they’ve yet to experience a home game. With that being said, I expect the Canadians to eek out a much-needed 2-1 victory against their Texan opposition on Saturday.

 

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About the author: Collin Carpio

 

I am currently a senior at the University of Missouri in the Journalism School. I have been an avid follower of Manchester United since 2006 and of course I support the Stars and Stripes. Due to my St. Louis high school allegiances, I am a big supporter of Brad Davis and Sporting KC in MLS.

 

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