Toronto, Dallas hope to bounce back at Toyota Stadium

By The Sports NetworkApril 18, 2014 at 4:36 PM
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Frisco, TX ( - 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- quarter mark.

"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 hand."

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 apiece.


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