The Headliner: Coming Home
It has been more than seven months since Toronto FC last played at BMO Field. The team spent the first two months of the season on the road as renovations of the stadium were completed.
After two years of work, all but the finishing touches have been completed on the new-look BMO Field. The stadium has expanded 8,400 seats, and now has a canopy roof over top of the East, West and South stands.
Now it's time for the team to put on a performance worthy of their new stage. Toronto was at its best at home last season, and the same will be expected this time around. Clubs in MLS tend to only be as good as their home record, after all. Points on the road are few are far between.
Toronto was able to pick up a good amount, 11 to be exact, in their first eight games of the season. It was a good start, but the team has to win their home games to make it mean anything.
FC Dallas is a difficult first opponent for Toronto FC. Despite what their recent results would suggest, they are one of the best teams in the league. They are also the kind of team that can really expose Toronto FC with the kind of speed that they have on the wings.
Toronto FC has been playing a narrow midfield formation as of late, but opponents haven't been able to take full advantage of that fact. With players like Fabian Castillo and Tesho Akindele, Toronto FC had better be prepared to do a lot of wide defending today.
Key to the game: it's still all about defending.
That may sound disappointing, especially compared to the free-wheeling attack that Toronto deployed at times last season. But whether at home or on the road, Toronto FC is all about defensive shape this year. The team has only conceded seven goals through the first 8 games making them the best defensive team in MLS. They would like to keep it that way.
FC Dallas is both a high octane offensive team and leaky defensive team. That means that if Toronto FC can take care of things in their own end, they will likely get chances at the other end. This is especially true with Matt Hedges out with an injury, the centrepiece of the Dallas backline.
Toronto FC: Irwin; Morrow, Moor, Perquis, Beitashour; Bradley, Johnson, Delgado, Osorio; Giovinco, Altidore
Subs: Roberts, Williams, Zavaleta, Lovitz, Osorio, Chapman, Babouli
FC Dallas: Gonzalez; Figueroa, Zimmerman, Loyd, Hollingshead; Ulloa, Diaz, Acosta, Akindele, Barrios, Urruti
Location: BMO Field Toronto, Ontario
Kick-off time: 7:30 Eastern
SB Nation OPPOSITION Blog: Big D Soccer
Available streaming: TSN Go
Available radio: TSN 1050
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.