After a long two weeks off, the Toronto FC take to the pitch in Fisco, Texas to meet FC Dallas. Typically off weeks during the season can be a blessing. After a loss to a seemingly weak Eastern Conference opponent in the Chicago Fire, giving Toronto their third loss in four matches, the bye has been an agonizingly stressful.
For the most part, goals have yet to be an issue for the Reds, scoring six goals after their first four matches. The clear issue has been the back-line which has been inconsistent at best. Inconsistent in reliability and availability. The only thing that can be counted on is the continued inability to hold a lead.
With Greg Vanney continuing to juggle injuries and suspensions, the lineup is never for certain until game time. The injuries and Warren Creavalle suspension only make the defensive end in question. Surprisingly Mark Bloom traveled with the team on Friday to Dallas which could be an indication he’ll play. Steven Caldwell remains to be unavailable while Damien Perquis is a slight question mark. Expect to see Justin Morrow, Ashtone Morgan, Damien Perquis and Nick Hagglund start the back four with Jackson as a possibility at rightback.
The midfield and final third of the pitch isn’t expected to have any changes but it will be interesting to see how much Captain Michael Bradley will play after a friendly with the US National Team against Mexico on Wednesday. Benoit Cheyrou is also questionable which would be unfortunate as he has proven quite well at this early stage of the season.
Although supporters continue to be starved for Toronto FC success this season, realistically a win on the road against a strong team in FC Dallas is not likely. If Toronto can get anything out of this match it should serve as a boost in confidence. The Reds may simply be looking to play it safe and forward to two easier opponents in Orlando City and the Philadelphia Union before finally ending their season starting seven match road trip. There were alarm bells after the loss in Chicago two weeks ago and while this isn’t a must win, points are quickly needed before the season gets out of hand.