Toronto FC's road game Saturday night against FC Dallas seems comparable to a trip to the gallows, but the squad has confidence it can pull off a shocker.
Dallas rarely loses at Pizza Hut Park. It is unbeaten in 12 matches overall and has allowed only one goal at home since May 20.
The team's keeper is the reigning MLS player of the month and Dallas has a paltry two defeats all season.
TFC, on the other hand, has managed one road win all year and will be without its top overall player (captain Dwayne De Rosario), midfielder (Julian de Guzman) and defender (Nana Attakora), because of national team duty. Canada takes on Peru at BMO Field hours before TFC takes the pitch in Texas.
"We still have good options," said TFC coach Preki on the team's website.
"It gives opportunities to guys that aren't getting too many to show themselves, show what they're made out of," said defender Adrian Cann earlier in the week.
Helping TFC's cause will be the fact Dallas will be missing its own captain, Daniel Hernandez -- one of five MLS players to play every minute so far this season -- and fellow midfielder Atiba Harris, because of suspension.
As well, striker Maicon Santos made the trip to Dallas with the team and will be a game-time decision.
The Brazilian has been out since injuring his knee on Aug. 7. Fellow striker Chad Barrett is still out of action.
This is crunch time now for the Reds, with yet another tough stretch looming.
The Reds travel to Chicago for a date Wednesday with the rival Chicago Fire (three points behind TFC) before heading home for a Saturday game vs. D.C. United.
Toronto is in a dogfight for the final MLS playoff spot. Kansas City is just a point behind, while a TFC win and a San Jose loss to Houston would vault TFC into a post-season position, a point clear of the Earthquakes.
"We know what we have to do as a team. We're going (to Dallas) to win, it's vital for us," Cann said.