MLS Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, April 19, 2014
(All times Eastern)
Toronto (3-2-0) at FC Dallas (4-1-1), 8:30 p.m.
Frisco, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of sides that have made impressive
starts to the season will square off at Toyota Stadium on Saturday as FC
Dallas will play host to Toronto FC.
Dallas enters the weekend atop the Western Conference on 13 points while
Toronto, on the back of its first home loss of the season, sits second in the
East on nine points.
The Reds were without Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe for last week's loss
to the Colorado Rapids, and the Canadian club's play suffered as a result.
Toronto looked more like the doormat of previous seasons without its star
players, and Dwayne De Rosario was forced out of the match at the three-
"We knew it was going to be a game where probably one goal was going to settle
it," TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen said after the match. "Whether it was a
mistake or a little lack of concentration or something. ... I thought there
was only one team that was going to win that game. The cruelty of football,
isn't it, when you hit the post and 30 seconds later they score on the other
De Rosario is certain to miss Saturday's clash at FC Dallas, and if Bradley is
unable to go, TFC will be anchored by Kyle Bekker in the center of the pitch.
"I thought (Bekker) was brilliant today and one of our standout players,"
Nelsen said after Saturday's loss to Colorado. "He is showing a high level of
maturity which has been showing through his hard work."
Dallas, meanwhile, is 4-1-1 after six games for the second consecutive season.
But the Frisco club will be hoping to keep its strong start going after a
disappointing end to the last campaign; Dallas finished 11-12-11 following a
8-2-3 start in 2013.
"This team is very strong," said FCD head coach Oscar Pareja after the club's
loss to Seattle Sounders FC last weekend. "We're building. We won against
Portland and Houston, Montreal, tied with Kansas City. The first half today we
were up 2-1. So, no, this team isn't going to fall.
"Now is a great time to keep learning. We have a very strong group, and I'm
behind these guys 300 percent. I'm very proud of this team."
A strong level of offensive production has set Dallas apart from the rest so
far this season. With an MLS-high 15 goals scored thus far, the club is one of
just three teams with a double digit tally.
And perhaps what has made the team most dangerous is the fact that so many
players have chipped in with goals. Je-Vaughn Watson and Michel are tied for
the team lead with three goals apiece while three other players have added two
04/18 16:35:01 ET