FC Dallas embarked on a three-game, three-country road trip on Tuesday morning with their first game coming Wednesday in Canada against a new-look Toronto FC (8 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
Since the two sides’ first meeting of the 2011 campaign in May — a 1-0 FC Dallas win on a penalty kick from Daniel Hernandez — TFC head coach Aron Winter has been busy remodeling the Eastern Conference team to his liking.
Wednesday’s game marks the first opportunity for Toronto’s two new Designated Players — German midfielder Torsten Frings and Dutch forward Danny Koevermans — to suit up for the Eastern Conference side. And don’t forget that Winter has made three different trades in the last week, acquiring four new players, including winger Ryan Johnson and Canadian international Terry Dunfield.
“It’s going to be a completely different team,” FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com over the phone. “I pulled up all of our scouting reports from the last time we played them and that doesn’t hold any water at all.”
Hyndman and the FC Dallas coaching staff largely draw blanks when considering what they will see at BMO Field on Wednesday evening.
“We don’t know what they are going to be doing,” Hyndman continued. “We don’t have any idea of what they are going to be playing, we don’t have an idea on penalties or free kicks and corners kicks, and we have no idea who’s playing in what position.”
While Toronto have benefitted from an 11-day break from league action, FC Dallas have played four games since the start of July.
“They’ve had a chance to recover,” said Hyndman. “They put all their energy into their trades — which they made a ton of trades — [and] I don’t think their trades are done yet. You find teams doing those type of things when things aren’t going well and they’re looking for answers.”
On The Road Again
After the game north of the border, FC Dallas travel to New York for a Saturday fixture against the Red Bulls before leaving early the following week for the first-leg of their CONCACAF Champions League play-in match against Salvadoran side Alianza FC.
“I think the team is really looking forward to the whole trip,” said Hyndman. “We got three games in the span of a week in three different countries, so it’s going to be quite a trip for us and I think the guys are looking forward to competing.”
Hyndman said that his message to the team during the busy stretch of games in July — an average of two per week across three different competitions — has stressed taking care of their bodies off the pitch.
FCD Midfield Recovering
Both Hernandez (right knee) and midfielder Andrew Jacobson (right hamstring) made the road trip, providing hope that each player will contribute over the next week. Hyndman said that Hernandez had some swelling in his knee following his 90-minute shift Saturday night against D.C. United, but his status is improving.
“The doctors had a look at him and are very impressed that there was minimal swelling,” Hyndman said. "So it’s looking brighter and brighter."
For Jacobson, the Toronto FC match may be his first time to see the pitch since injuring his leg on July 9 at Real Salt Lake.
“He passed his fitness test and he’s made great improvements,” Hyndman said. “But he’s still black and blue. We are hoping to have him come off the bench [Wednesday night] and hopefully, by the time New York comes around, he’ll be ready to go."
Robert Casner covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @FCDallasBeatGuy