A week after traveling to Canada, the Houston Dynamo welcome another Canadian team to Texas as Toronto FC visits BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday night (7:45 p.m.).
Toronto (10-7-6, 30 points) is in second place in the Eastern Conference, but carries a 3-6-3 road record and is winless in its last five games away from home. The Reds are coming off of a four-game homestand with four straight wins, outscoring opponents 12-2 in that run.
TFC is led by 2015 MLS MVP and Golden Boot winner Sebastien Giovinco, who is making a case for repeats in both categories as he leads the league with 15 goals and is tied for second with 10 assists. Giovinco recorded two hat tricks in TFC's last four games.
Toronto also boasts U.S. men's national team players Michael Bradley, who has two assists in 13 games this season, and Jozy Altidore, who has entered as a sub and scored two goals in the last four matches after missing nine games with a hamstring injury.
The defense has been the stingiest in the Eastern Conference this season, only allowing 24 goals in 23 games. Drew Moor, Steven Beitashour, and Justin Morrow have anchored the back line, all starting 21 matches. The Dynamo will see backup keeper Alex Bono in goal on Saturday as Clint Irwin recovers from a quadriceps strain. After a rough start in his first minutes, Bono has allowed six goals in his eight full starts.
Here's how Dynamo interim head coach Wade Barrett sees how Toronto lines up: “It’s a little bit different – a lot of times they play that diamond in the 4-4-2, and we haven’t played too many teams that set up that way. In addition to the big names you mention, [Tusbasa] Endoh has done pretty well. Jonathan Osorio is a good player as well.
"We have to be prepared for those things, if Altidore is in, if Giovinco is in, you have to pay attention to those guys and where they are on the field. Pedro Morales in Vancouver, he can pick a good short pass and a long pass, and he can hurt you from anywhere on the field. I think Michael Bradley is the same, that his range of passing is so good and he’s so accurate over multiple distances that he is a dangerous player, even when he’s far away on the field.”