After last Saturday’s lack-luster display against Seattle, Toronto FC will attempt to improve against FC Dallas, the only team yet to pick up a point in the MLS this season.
In the first of a home-and-home series, TFC will fancy their chances at BMO Field. However, some caution should be exercised as everyone thought exactly the same heading into the match-up with the Sounders.
Either way, Coach John Carver will not allow his team to come out looking as flat again. He did not mince his words after the 2-0 defeat to Seattle and will do everything within his power to get the team back on track.
Matters will be helped by the fact that Carver has nearly a full squad to choose from. Only first round 2009 draft pick O’Brian White is definitely out with an ongoing knee injury.
Hopes will be further boosted by the Reds central partnership of Carl Robinson and Amado Guevara, who have now had a full week to recover. There’s no doubt that they were both affected by jet lag after returning from international duty and it showed in their performance against Seattle.
FC Dallas will be desperate to turnaround the worst start in club history, although they were unlucky to lose their last game, falling 2-1 against the New England Revolution after conceding a late penalty. The task will be made more difficult by a lengthy injury list. Goalkeeper Dario Sala and midfielder Marcelo Saragosa will both miss the game with knee injuries.
Adding to Dallas’s injury woes are defenders’ Steve Purdy and Daniel Torres, both listed as questionable with hamstring strains. It also appears doubtful that Brazilian midfielder Andre Rocha will see any action as he struggles with a foot injury.
Looking at Toronto’s starting lineup, Stefan Frei has been passed fit with a clean bill of health and don’t be surprised if he replaces Grey Sutton in goal as Carver shakes up the team.
Turning to the defence, Marvell Wynne and Jim Brennan should retain their places at the fullback positions, but I would take out Kevin Harmse and bring in Marco Velez to play alongside Adrian Serioux.
Rohan Ricketts will be favoured to join Robinson and Guevara in midfield. Depending on the formation, Dwayne De Rosario will either take the fourth place in midfield or play just behind the strikers.
Up front, Chad Barratt is listed as probable. However, combined with his indifferent form so far this season, it would make sense to put him on the bench and start with the combination of Danny Dichio and Pablo Vitti.
The game against Seattle showed that Toronto still has a long way to go. However, if the Reds are serious about making the playoffs this year, they have to win this game. And they will, securing three precious points, as Carver gets his first victory over Dallas.
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