FC Dallas Vs. Toronto FC: Preview

Posted In Match Previews and Reviews - By Steven Streff On Wednesday, May 11th, 2011 With 1 Comment

Team Form

FC Dallas

If you took a quick look at Dallas’s results this season, you might assume that David Ferreira missed the early part of the season, and was now back in the lineup with a resurgent Dallas side. Instead, Ferreira was in the side as they struggled early on, and including the game against Vancouver, Dallas has picked up seven points out of nine available with Ferreira out injured. It appeared that Schellas Hyndman did not quite have his team ready for the departure of Dax McCarty in the offseason, with Andrew Jacobson sliding into an almost identical formation. But with Ferreira’s injury, Hyndman has simply inserted Eric Avila into the side, and his side have responded well, offensively and defensively.

Toronto FC

Joao Plata was given a surprise start against Houston on Saturday, and his inclusion was the difference, as Toronto won for the first time since March 26th. Plata proved to be a handful for the bigger Houston backline, as his speed and elusiveness made it difficult for him to be marked. Toronto are still a difficult team to figure out, as are Houston, who had beaten D.C. United 4-1 last month, and D.C. had beaten Toronto 3-0 weeks before. Inconsistent play on all parts of the field have plagued the Reds all season, and while Winter still tries to instill the 4-3-3 into the side, growing pains are likely to continue.

Players to watch

Dallas – Brek Shea

With Milton Rodriguez, Maykel Galindo and Jair Benitez out with injuries, Hyndman will have to determine where to play Shea against Toronto. In the game against Los Angeles, Shea played in the midfield, where he scored the game winning goal. But with Benitez out against United, Shea was moved to the left back position. Although unlikely, it is not out of the question that Hyndman would play Shea as a striker with Rodriguez and Galindo out. With Toronto’s two goal performance against Houston, Hyndman will likely keep Shea in defense, where he can help defend against Plata and Maicon Santos.

Toronto – Tony Tchani

Since moving to Toronto in the trade that sent Dwayne De Rosario to New York, Tchani has been given the chance to flourish under Winter’s system. Tchani has already scored once, and in the game against Houston, he was a big reason for Toronto’s victory. Being able to move the ball quickly from one side of the field to another to change the attack is critical to Winter, and Tchani excelled as a facilitator against Houston’s 4-4-2 lineup. Whether or not Tchani can replicate that against a five man midfield in Dallas might determine the outcome of the game.

Most Likely to score

Dallas - Marvin Chávez

With five in the midfield, Dallas is always more likely to see more goals come from their midfielders than teams that play with two or three forwards. Chávez and Fabian Castillo played out wide for Dallas against D.C. United, and both can get forward well to support whoever plays striker in attack. With Castillo better on the ball and better in creating opportunities for other players, Chávez is a likely target of one of Castillo’s crosses or passes. Chávez has had some questions asked about his finishing in the past, but with Toronto’s shaky defense, Chávez might finally get his first goal of the season.

Toronto – Maicon Santos

If Plata plays again, which is not a given according to manager Aron Winter, then the biggest benefactor might again be Maicon Santos. Without another threat to opposing defenses, Maicon struggles to get goals, as he isn’t capable of creating many chances for himself. Maicon has scored just twice all season, but his second, against Houston, was a direct result of the play of the midfield and Plata in particular. If he starts, Maicon will be the man to provide the threat to goal for Toronto against a strong defensive unit.


Since their early season swoon, Dallas has gone three straight games without a loss, and have earned points in four of their last five games, with three wins. Hyndman seems to have figured out how to operate his team successfully, even without Ferreira. Toronto is still an enigma, and is still trying to fully understand the 4-3-3 properly. Toronto’s erratic play from one game to the next will end in another Dallas win, by a 2-1 margin.

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