Competition: Major League Soccer – Toronto FC vs. Houston Dynamo
Venue: BMO Field – Friday, April 28 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)
Match Odds: Toronto 8/15 – Draw 3/1 – Houston 9/2
Toronto FC welcome Houston Dynamo to BMO Field as Week 9 springs into life with this intriguing inter-conference clash.
Toronto got their first home win of the season in last week’s 3-1 victory over Chicago Fire and will be looking to follow that up with another three points in front of their own fans as they try to climb the Eastern Conference.Embed from Getty Images
The Reds are sitting in seventh place coming into the weekend but are only five points off Orlando at the top and will feel they are now in a position to start progressing after a fairly quiet start to the new season.
Greg Vanney’s men have only lost one of their last eight home regular season games – none of which have come this season – and they know they are expected to take the game to Houston here.
— OptaJack⚽️ (@OptaJack) April 21, 2017
The Dynamo have been one of the real surprise packages so far in 2017. They enter Week 9 third in the West after posting a 4-1-2 record through their opening seven games.
The real positive for Houston has been the re-emergence of Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres, along with attacking players such as Alberth Elis and Rommel Quioto. The trio have scored 13 of the Dynamo’s 15 goals this term and look dangerous every time they come forward.
— Houston Dynamo (@HoustonDynamo) April 23, 2017
Houston have lost both away games so far this term though, and that will be the major worry for Wilmer Cabrera heading into Friday’s game in Toronto. They fell 4-2 at Portland before more recently suffering a 2-0 loss in New England.
It’s been almost two years since the Dynamo won away at an Eastern Conference side and they must start to change that record if they are to challenge for the Supporters’ Shield this term.
This will be the 21st MLS clash between the two sides. Toronto have only picked up four wins in the previous 20 games against Houston and are currently winless in four against the Texans.Embed from Getty Images
Toronto still have five players out through injury with Clint Irwin, Drew Moor, Ashtone Morgan, Chris Mavinga and Jason Hernandez all set to miss out again here. The positive news is that Drew Moor is only expected to be out for another two weeks after an irregular heartbeat was discovered.
George Malki remains out for the season for the Dynamo, who could also be without four first-teamers that are are all doubts. AJ DeLaGarza, Leonardo, Agus and Ricardo Clark are all carrying knocks and might not be passed fit in time for Friday’s contest.
Toronto FC’s form: W/D/D/L/W
Houston Dynamo’s form: L/W/L/D/W
Key Stat: Houston haven’t won away at an Eastern Conference side in MLS since May 2015, although that victory came at BMO Field in their most recent trip to Toronto.
Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – The Atomic Ant is back and has the fire burning in his belly if his reaction to being substituted in last week’s win over Chicago is anything to go by. Giovinco got two in last Friday’s victory and now has three in his last three. He got off to a slow start this season but is looking on his way back to his scary best – something the Dynamo defence will be very nervous about.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 25, 2017
Toronto FC 3-1 Houston Dynamo – It’s difficult to see the Dynamo’s road form picking up on Friday night. Toronto are unbeaten at BMO Field so far this term and got their first win against Chicago last week. The Dynamo attack have impressed and will expect to find the net but with Giovinco and Jozy Altidore looking like they’re nearing top form, the Reds should prove too strong.