Toronto FC faces FC Dallas, looking for second straight win

Toronto FC enjoyed a rare win last time out. Now they’ll try for a season’s first: consecutive wins.

To do so, though, Toronto FC will have to hold off an FC Dallas side that’s lost just once this season, when the two clubs square off on Friday night at BMO Field in Toronto.

It’s been a struggle through the first 2 1/2 months of the season for Toronto (3-6-1) as it tried to balance MLS action with CONCACAF play. While a month has passed since the club’s CONCACAF Final defeat, its MLS results have been up and down as it battles through injury.

TFC got good news on that front last weekend against Orlando, with midfielder Victor Vazquez and defenders Eriq Zavaleta and Chris Mavinga returning in a crucial win.

“Winning is a habit just like losing is a habit,” coach Greg Vanney told The Athletic. “Being able to find ways to win on days when games aren’t perfect is crucial to getting momentum going in the other direction.”

Toronto managed to eke out a win despite being without striker Sebastian Giovinco, who sat out the contest serving a red-card suspension, and Jozy Altidore, who remains sidelined after undergoing foot surgery earlier this month. In their absence, 24-year-old Ryan Telfer, who hails from suburban Toronto, delivered the game-winning goal in the 87th minute to half TFC’s losing streak at two games.

“Without Sebastian and Jozy, we were looking for someone to step up to win us the game,” Zavaleta told mlssoccer.com. “He did exactly that. Another guy that has stepped in, learned, and only gotten better with every game he’s played. Today was the culmination of all that.”

One area the team will be looking to improve on is defending outside the box in its own end. Vanney’s squad has given up four goals from outside the box so far this season — one more than they did all last year, including the playoffs.

FC Dallas, meanwhile, will be looking for a better finish than the one they put forth last week against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Two points slipped from the team’s grasp late in the game as Vancouver erased Dallas’ two-goal lead and the two clubs settled for a 2-2 draw.

“We can’t complain about the chances we created,” coach Oscar Pareja told mlssoccer.com after the game. “The team scored two good goals. We had chances to score a couple more with the goal open that would decide the game and then we end up with that end, which is very heartbreaking for our players. I hope that we all learn from it and keep going.”

With the point, Dallas (4-1-5) moved into a tie with Portland for third place in the Western Conference.

Maxi Urruti netted the second goal of the match to pull into a tie with Roland Lamah for the team lead. No other player on Dallas’ roster has scored more than once.

“He understands the game very well, and being a light and fast player, sometimes contact with centers make it hard for him. But his intelligence has allowed him to be within the area and cause damage often,” Pareja told the Dallas Morning News of Urruti.

The road hasn’t been kind to FC Dallas of late. The club has managed just one win in its last 11 games (1-7-3) and hasn’t scored more than one goal in any of those outings.