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Weary FC Dallas succumb to Toronto FC

Published 6/17/2007 7:12:55 PM by staff from mlsnet.com
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Carlos Ruiz can be forgiven if he's in no hurry to move north of the border. The FC Dallas forward has had a rough weekend at the hands of Canadian teams.  Ruiz played 90 minutes for his native Guatemala in a 3-0 loss to Canada in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Saturday. Since the game was played in relatively nearby suburban Boston, Ruiz hopped on a plane and flew to Toronto to be available for his club's Sunday afternoon game with Toronto FC.

Unfortunately, the Hoops captain's commitment to his club would not be rewarded. FC Dallas suffered its worst defeat of the season in a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of the first-year expansion club.  We played today against a very good team," Ruiz said. "It was our first time here. I think Toronto have very good players. I don't know why the team is [sixth] in this conference."

Indeed, judging by the result, it was Toronto that looked like the MLS point leaders and FC Dallas who looked like the first-year expansion team. The Hoops allowed season-highs in goals allowed, shots (13) and shots on goal (10).

Yet this was a game that FCD at times seemed to control. The Hoops attack managed 10 shots of their own and looked particularly strong at the start of the game and coming out of the halftime break. But the club couldn't get that crucial goal to keep the game close.

"I thought we started the much better team," said FCD coach Steve Morrow. "For the first 20-25 minutes, I thought we were dominating the game, pushing forward and we looked the more dangerous team. We created a few opportunities and we didn't take them.  I think we have to do a much better job of when we're dominating the game and making the most of our opportunities and take our chances when they come along. We didn't do that and got punished for it."

It was a rare road stumble for FC Dallas, who entered Sunday's match with four wins and 13 points away from home -- both marks the highest in MLS.  The Toronto game, however, might have been a case of the schedule finally catching up with the Hoops. It was the fourth time this season that FC Dallas had played a Sunday game following a Thursday game, and the second time that both ends of the Thursday-Sunday combo had been on the road. Dallas defeated Real Salt Lake 1-0 on Thursday in Utah.

"I don't like to make excuses here but you know I will defend my players today," Morrow said. "We've had two tough games in the space of three days on the road in Salt Lake on turf -- then a short time back to Dallas then having to back up here and play on turf as well on a hot afternoon. We'll just move on and forget about it."

The Hoops will be on the road again next Saturday in Colorado, but the MLS road warriors will then return to Pizza Hut Park for 10 of their remaining 15 games.  Ruiz, for one, is looking forward to Dallas' upcoming rivalry game with Houston on June 30, and also has an eye on Toronto FC's visit on Sept. 8.

"We lost 4-0," Ruiz said. "We lost bad. We need to start working and when Toronto comes to Dallas, maybe we can win there."

The weekend's final score: Canada 7, Ruiz 0.

Label: Toronto FC, FC Dallas, MLS,
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