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FC Dallas travels to face struggling MLS Cup champ Toronto FC

May 19, 2018; Frisco, TX, USA; FC Dallas midfielder Kellyn Acosta (23) reacts after missing a shot on goal as Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Brett Levis (46) defends in the first half at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas will battle another Canadian opponent Friday at 8 p.m. ET when the team travels to BMO Field to take on defending Major League Soccer champion Toronto FC.

Dallas is coming off a disappointing result at home, drawing 2-2 against Vancouver after Kei Kamara scored a penalty 10 minutes into stoppage time. Even though Dallas has four draws at home on the year, this one felt like more of a loss, as shown by the reaction of the players postgame and at training Tuesday.

“We watched a lit bit of film this morning, one of those you gotta just sit through it,” midfielder Jacori Hayes said. “You don’t want to revisit that moment but you have to learn from it. Since we’ve gone over it, now it’s in the back burner and we’re focusing on the next one.”

During the match, Kellyn Acosta, who is still working on getting match fit after recovering from his hernia injury, was subbed off at halftime. Hayes subbed on for him and played the remaining 45 minutes. When asked about the substitution, coach Oscar Pareja said it was a mix of being cautious and a tactical switch.

“A little bit of both,” Pareja said. “I already have a plan for Kellyn, and sometimes I can just let it go longer into games until I see that it is enough. Sometimes, last weekend, I thought I wanted to just do it earlier. We are trying to give company to Kellyn’s process, to get to his level, but at the same time we have to protect the development of the group and the game itself. So, those things crazy coaches think.”

The team is determined to make a mark against one of MLS’ best. Toronto went to back-to-back MLS Cups in 2016-17 and went to the Concacaf Champions League final this year, before falling to Chivas in penalties. However, the reigning champs have struggled in MLS play since refocusing after CCL competition and sit in ninth place in the East with a 3-6-1 record.

Dallas (4-1-5) is fourth in the Western Conference, and a result Friday would be crucial — especially on the road in a place where there always is a loud crowd.

“It’s another big club,” Hayes said. “We’ve been facing a lot of those, like the Galaxy and LAFC is coming in. It’s a big club in MLS and hopefully we can go in there and steal some points and put our name on the radar to say, ‘FC Dallas is for real.’”

Toronto’s poor start to the season picked up a bit with a 2-1 win over a solid Orlando City side last Friday. TFC have had players step up, such as Ryan Telfar, who scored last match, and Jay Chapman, a homegrown player who also scored.

Pareja said he sees TFC no differently from the MLS champion side it was last year and he will not take the Canadian side lightly, even with its current place in the standings.

“At the time the players jump into the field, they dictate how the story is going to be written,” Pareja said. “Just perform for a good team, prepare for what needs to be prepared, concentrate on what you can control and get better. Jump into the field and compete.”

Match Information

Where: BMO Field

Broadcast: TXA 21; Radio- FCDallas.com/Radio (English), 1270AM (Spanish)

Stream: ESPN+, DAZN

Some Trends: FC Dallas defeated Toronto FC 3-1 last season, with Roland Lamah having two goals and Maxi Urruti adding another… in Dallas’ last trip to BMO Field, a 1-0 defeat, Jesse Gonzalez was forced off the pitch due to injury in the 87th minute, with Ryan Hollingshead becoming keeper and recording a clean sheet.. Sebastian Giovinco leads the league in shots per game with 6.6… Roland Lamah is tied for second in the league in assists with 4… Ever since its defeat to Chivas in the CCL, TFC has gone 2-3-0.

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