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What to watch for against Toronto FC

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How can Dallas stop the three-headed monster of Bradley, Giovinco and Altidore?

MLS: FC Dallas at Toronto FC Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC have been the best team in the MLS year. They currently lead the fight for the Supporters Shield with 35 points, towering above FC Dallas with 25. If the Supporter’s Shield is going to be an objective this year (whether it is or not depends on who you ask), then this game is crucial to Dallas’ chances.

Toronto have been good, but have they been that good?

TFC are on pace for 70 points, will they keep it up? Probably not, but if they did they would instantly be one of the best MLS teams in the decade. Remember, FC Dallas won the Supporter’s Shield last year with 60 points, the craziest thing about Toronto’s pace is that they’re only one point ahead of the Chicago Fire. The East is by far the stronger conference this year. But don’t worry, even Toronto fans know they’ve been a little lucky.

Projected Lineup

Toronto like the 3-5-2 with defensive minded wingers in the midfield that play a versatile role going forward and dropping back when needed.

Without injuries and because this is such an important game, don’t expect anything less than full strength from TFC.

Editor’s Note: Steven Beitashour is now listed as out for this game with an abdominal injury.

Key Player

Victor Vazquez

Coming into the season Vazquez was a bit of a hipster’s pick for the most important player on TFC, but halfway through the season it certainly isn’t wrong. Vazquez has 9 assists and leads the league in that category. The newly found playmaker takes a lot of the pressure off of Giovinco, Altidore, and Bradley, which is crucial to TFC’s ability to mount a run for the Supporter’s Shield and MLS Cup. Toronto has built a team around their core and they’re finally reaping the benefits.

Key Matchup

Normally Carlos Gruezo only has to deal with one really good midfielder. But this week there are two. Gruezo will have his work cut out for him as he tries to neutralize Toronto’s newest star. Michael Bradley will try to draw him out of position by dropping deep in an attempt to create space behind him. It’s crucial that Ulloa, who will be filling in for Acosta on international duty, works high enough up the field to put pressure on Bradley and not allow him the space to operate while Gruezo sits deeper and tries to defend Vazquez.