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Houston Dynamo vs Toronto FC: Game Thread

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Follow along as Toronto FC and Houston Dynamo clash in a match between two teams who still believe they have a shot at a playoff position in the MLS East, but need this win in order to have a chance.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC vs. Houston Dynamo

BMO Field, 7:30 PM Eastern

TSN 4

Things are back to normal for Toronto FC. Saturday's game was different, one long pencilled on the schedule as unwinnable. TFC proved just why that was a popular school of thought, losing to the MLS Cup favourites 3-0 in a match that was never close. The team seemed to buy into the mentality that this was the one of the schedule that they could afford to lose, provided they win the others. Tonight's match against the Houston Dynamo is one of those must win matches for the club. Houston may still technically be in the playoff race, but is more out of respect for their history than anything else that they are still in that conversation. In truth, Houston are one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference, and thus one of the worst in the league. They are expected to win, which will only make it that much harder to do so.

In terms of the aforementioned playoff race, tonight is a chance for both Toronto and Houston to make up games in hand that they have on the rest of the east. The only other MLS match tonight has no significance to Toronto's place in the East. But Toronto's match certainly does, as it could mean taking over the fifth and final playoff position. For once Toronto actually have the first tiebreaker, which is wins. New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew both only have 11 wins, Toronto will have 12 if they can overcome the Dynamo. That puts them in a very good position heading into their final three matches, so tonight's win is imperative.

It also represents the team's return to health, as Jermain Defoe is expected to be fully available for tonight's match. Gilberto, who was left in Toronto to rest for the Dynamo, will also be back in action. The striker duo have had some major success in the past, and are a big factor in Toronto getting into the playoffs. Mark Bloom will also be ready to go after his collision with Will Johnson. Warren Creavale did fairly well in his place last week, but there is no doubt that Bloom significantly improves the team's backline. After serving his suspension, Jackson is another option for Greg Vanney. Despite his poor disciplinary record, the Brazilian has often outplayed his teammates when he has been given a chance in the midfield. He may well find a place in the lineup over the recently ineffective Dominic Oduro.

For a longer and more detailed preview of the match, check out Kristin Knowles' thoughts. If you'd like to know a little more about who Toronto FC will be facing, James Grossi has you covered with a look at the Houston Dynamo. If you think you are smarter than Paul Mariner, you definitely are, but you can test out that theory here. Finally, if you are in more of an audio mood, the latest edition of The Vocal Minority Podcast is out. Enjoy the match, and follow along here.