April 17, 2014, TORONTO (ISN) – There’s a bit good news for injury-plagued Toronto FC as they head to Dallas to face the MLS Western Conference leaders.
Midfielder Jonathan Osorio, who has missed the past three games due to a hamstring injury, will travel with the tam Friday and play in Dallas on Saturday.
And midfield general Michael Bradley is close to returning from groin and quadriceps strains, which kept him out of last Saturday’s 1-0 home loss to the Colorado Rapids.
“Any team, and I’m talking worldwide, would miss Michael Bradley,” said defender Bradley Orr. “He’s a top, top player so he’s going to be a miss not just as a player, but as a leader and in the dressing room as well. Hopefully we might have him back this weekend.
“Michael is a welcome addition on Saturday, if fit.”
Toronto head coach Ryan Nelsen said the club was “guarding him a little bit” as Bradley participated in light training on Thursday. The American midfielder is expected to participate in training again Friday in Toronto and be evaluated by team trainers to determine whether he is fit enough to travel to Dallas.
“We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. Twenty-four hours is a long time with these kinds of injuries,” said Nelsen following a chilly outdoor practice as the team’s training facility. “If there’s no negative feedback from what he’s done today then hopefully I’ll be close to making that decision.”
The news isn’t as good for Jermain Defoe, who has missed Toronto’s previous two games with a hamstring injury.
Defoe will not be available against Dallas, though Nelsen says the striker, who leads the team with three goals, should return to Toronto’s lineup when the Reds play host to the New England Revolution on May 3 following a bye week.
Toronto will also be without defender Doneil Henry (knee), midfielder Alvaro Rey (hamstring) and forward Dwayne De Rosario (leg) against Dallas.
“There’s been quite a lot going on with injuries and suspensions so forth. We’ve got good strength and a veteran squad that has complimented us really well,” Orr said. ” It is a little bit frustrating, but that’s what happens in this sport and in this game.”
Toronto (3-2-0) heads to Dallas (4-1-1) looking to avoid losing two in a row for the first time this season. FC Dallas is a top the table in the West, but fell 3-2 to the Seattle Sounders at home last Saturday.
The two clubs played to a 2-2 draw in April 2013 at BMO Field in their last meeting. Toronto is 1-6-5 all time against Dallas.
“It’ll be arguably one of our toughest challenges so far this season,” said Nelsen. “It’s a real good challenge for us to see where we’re at. They have a lot of speed out wide, and experience in that central midfield.”
Added Orr, “Going to Dallas, it’s going to be a difficult game. They’re a very good side. Watched a lot of video, the pitch looks fantastic, one that will probably suit us. We proved against Columbus that we can come again strong after a defeat.
“That’s what we aim to do Saturday, show a little bit of mental strength and bounce back with a big victory.”
Nelsen also confirmed on Thursday that he anticipates being without Defoe (England), Bradley (United States) and keeper Julio Cesar (Brazil) following the team’s May 17 road game against the New York Red Bulls due to World Cup commitments.