Toronto FC will face a stern test on Saturday as the Canadian club welcomes in-form FC Dallas to BMO Field.
Dallas has rattled off three consecutive wins to climb to the top of the Western Conference with 12 points through its first five matches of the season.
The club's current three-game winning run matches its longest winning streak over the past four seasons. According to Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman, the team has been able to jell much better than last term.
"You never know how important team chemistry is until you lose it," said Hyndman. "We struggled with that the last year and a half. This year, the guys are really playing for each other. They're working for each other. They are following directions. They are having great training sessions."
Dallas is coming off of a 1-0 defeat of the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium last weekend, a match that saw Blas Perez return from international duty to enter as a substitute and net his first goal of the season.
"A very good player," Hyndman said of Perez. "He played two games last week with Panama and he came back a little bit banged up. We wanted to rest him the best we could. But what a great substitute to be making, a player of that quality."
While Dallas has enjoyed a favorable start to the season, the fact that Saturday's tilt takes place north of the border bodes well for Toronto.
TFC is unbeaten at home this season, taking four points from those two matches. Toronto came close to handing the Los Angeles Galaxy their first loss of the season, but Jose Villarreal's stoppage-time equalizer saw the two sides split the points.
"We scored two goals against a team that hadn't conceded two goals since when? Not this season. We still scored two goals where other teams haven't," TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen said. "Yes, we are all disappointed that we didn't walk away with three points. But we take the point and we move on. The big picture is that the MLS champions came here and we did extremely well."
Nelsen has helped TFC make an impressive start to the season, and the first- year head coach believes the depth within the squad is a major factor.
"I think [the depth is starting to show]," Nelsen said. "[Luis] Silva and [Jonathan] Osorio came on and played very well. I still have guys on the bench who I can't even get in the squad who are international players. It's starting to get deep.
"We are always looking to improve the squad and we are still trying to bring in players who will be able to create even more competition."