Toronto FC vs. Houston Dynamo
5:00 PM Eastern
BMO Field. Toronto
The Headliner: Can Home Field Provide the Advantage?
All week every bit of coverage surrounding Toronto FC, Waking The Red's included, had something or other to do with the newly renovated BMO Field. Whether it was describing all of the stadium's new fancy amenities or outlining how the club hopes to turn the field into a fortress BMO Field was as relevant as it has ever been in Toronto FC chatter.
Now it is time for the team to back that up. Having a good start to the season at home will be massive, as will doing it in front of 33,000 witnesses. That starts with today's home opener against Houston Dynamo, and extends the rest of the season. If Toronto want to make the playoffs they are going to need a winning record at home.
Key Matchup: Toronto backline vs. Gilles Barnes
GIlles Barnes has ripped Toronto FC apart repeatedly in the past couple of years, and if Toronto want to win this match they are going to have to put a stop to it. This means keeping a close eye on Barnes at all times, and pushing him to the outside where he is far less dangerous.
Brad Davis has been very good against Toronto in the past as well, and he will also be dangerous. This is especially true considering how Toronto has dealt will balls in the air this season, and Davis is one of the best in the league at delivering them.
Houston may not be the best offensive team in the league, but they are certainly dangerous. Likewise Toronto will have to use its offensive tools to overcome a Houston backline that has been mediocre at best.
The @BacardiCanada Starting XI: Konopka, Morrow, Hagglund, Perquis, Morgan, Jackson, Cheyrou, Bradley, Findley, Giovinco, Altidore.— Toronto FC (@torontofc) May 10, 2015
No surprise, but there are no changes to the Toronto lineup that took down the Philadelphia Union last week. With Steven Caldwell, Mark Bloom and Joe Bendik injured there is no real reason to make a change.