TORONTO - FC Dallas paired league MVP David Ferreira with a rock-solid defence last season on the way to an MLS Cup loss to Colorado.
Now, the defence remains solid, but Ferreira has been lost for the season because of injury, giving Toronto FC a huge boost heading into Wednesday’s clash in Texas.
Minus Ferreira, one of the most best creators in Major League Soccer, who broke his leg on a rough tackle during a 2-1 win over Vancouver on April 23rd, Dallas has recommitted itself to the defensive side of the field.
The 2010 runners-up conceded just a single goal to powerful L.A. in a 2-1 victory over the Galaxy and drew 0-0 with D.C. United last week.
The Reds should have a tough time cracking the defensive wall at Pizza Hut Park, but at least the club will come in with some confidence having found some offence in Saturday’s stirring 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo at BMO Field.
The performance ended a six-game league winless streak for the Reds.
Joao Plata, the MLS player of the week, looked awfully dangerous in his goal and assist performance and should start again up front – this time likely with captain Maicon Santos, who was only called on for 15 minutes by head coach Aron Winter, but scored a goal.
If leading scorer Alan Gordon is still unable to suit up because of injury, Winter will have to decide whether to take out Alen Stevanovic or Nick Soolsma — who both had their moments against Houston — for Santos.
Javier Martina is also a possibility, but Winter has benched him for TFC’s past two games because he has not been impressed by Martina’s recent form. The Dutchman has not scored since netting a pair in Toronto’s second game of the season.
Defensively, Winter seems to have found a combination that works in Adrian Cann, Richard Eckersley, Dicoy Williams and Mikael Yourrasowsky, though the continued benching of longtime starter Nana Attakora remains puzzling.
Against Houston, midfielders Julian de Guzman and Tony Tchani performed very well, with de Guzman shifting back into more of a defensive role, while Tchani won battles and helped set up the offence.
This is an important match for the Reds, who would love to take a rare winning streak into Saturday’s home match against the Chicago Fire and continue to make a move up the standings.